Wharf work piling up

Floating dock project underway, $4 million breakwater contract awarded

The various pieces for the Digby wharf ’s new floating docks are slowly arriving in town. Fundy Contractors of St. George, N.B., dropped off six steel pilings on the wharf Feb. 26. The 33.5 metre long pilings will make up the supports for a set of floating docks that replace the recently demolished middle ell.

McNally Construction won the tender for the three-stage project.

Digby Harbour Port Association will pay McNally $614,000 to dredge out the spot where the middle ell used to be, drive the support pilings and install the metal gangway and floats. McNally will also remove the old metal pilings that used to be at the end of the middle ell. They are filled with concrete and were too heavy for removal during the demolition stage. McNally will use a large crane and two large scows and a small harbour tug to remove approximately 4,000 cubic metres of soil and debris from the harbour bottom.

The company will also try to remove the remains of many old wooden pilings but Plan B is to cut them off even with or below the harbour floor.

McNally will use a special vibrating attachment on the crane to drive the new support pilings. The last few metres of each piling may require a diesel hammer to drive them in. Fundy Contractors supplied the pilings for the wharf ’s other two sets of floating docks. But last time they delivered the pilings in two pieces. After sitting on the Digby wharf for a couple of months, the pipes were shipped to Halifax and welded together.

This time, the pilings came over on the ferry from New Brunswick already welded together. The upper half, the half that will be sticking up out of the mud, is covered in a protective coat of green epoxy.

Larche Industrial Marine of Digby delivered two of the five floats to the wharf before Christmas. The other three floats and the gangway are finished and ready to go. McNally Construction is currently transporting dredging and pile driving equipment from Halifax.

Digby port manager Jeff Sunderland said last Thursday that McNally had already shipped one part of its equipment as far as Yarmouth and was headed back to Halifax to get the rest. He expects all the equipment to be in Digby by the end of this week.

McNally’s already has a large excavator parked in the wharf parking lot behind the port association office. Sunderland says that excavator, with a bucket attachment, will load the muck from the scows into trucks.

The trucks will haul that muck and debris to the Digby Salvage and Disposal site on the Middle Cross Road. Machines have been preparing the site by building a three-metre berm around a containment area.

Digby Harbour Port Association has also awarded the contract for the new breakwater but little action on that project is expected until spring weight restrictions on roads are lifted in April.

Western Specialty Contractors of Manitoba won the breakwater contract with a bid of $3,948,810.

There were eight bidders and Western’s was the lowest.

The company will get rock for the breakwater from Mariner Aggregates quarry on top of Mount Pleasant. The breakwater will require 175,000 tonnes of rock or approximately 7,000 to 8,000 truckloads.

Sunderland said storm damage from the Feb. 16 blizzard wasn’t significant, although heavy wave action removed blocking from the top of the wharf.

Larches is carrying out the repairs and Sunderland says the association is expecting the repair bill to be under $10,000.

• Story by: Jonathan Riley • The Digby County Courier • 7 Mar 2013