Mohawk and URI on Course for New Dawn

Mohawk and URI on Course for New Dawn 
Edited by: Debbie Reaney 

The University of Rhode Island's (URI) Narragansett Bay Campus has begun a multi-year series of infrastructure improvements that will modernize its facilities and enable it to build upon its global reputation for oceanographic research and education. Optimization of ship operation is priority #1, as one of the country's newest National Science Foundation research vessels, the Narragansett Dawn, is expected to arrive at the pier in the Spring of 2024.

In 2021, Mohawk Northeast, Inc. (Mohawk), one of the leading heavy civil/marine contractors in the United States was awarded the contract to replace URI's almost 60-year-old pier. The existing pier was at the end of its useful service life and did not meet the requirements to properly support the operations of the new, larger research vessel. This project included the removal of the existing pier and utilities, as well as the construction of a new state of the art pier, re-grading of the upland approach, marine dolphin installation, and a new saltwater pump house facility. Mohawk crews demolished the original pier and erected a larger, more capable, steel-and-concrete pier supported by steel pipe piles making it more robust than its predecessor. Construction began during the spring of 2022, and although the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the project by several months, the Mohawk team worked diligently becoming more efficient at driving piles. Mohawk was able to complete the project in May of 2023; well before the arrival of the Narragansett Dawn. 

The new pier, which is approximately 5-feet higher and built to withstand severe weather, was designed using contemporary codes, practices, and construction materials. The pier was constructed with long-term durability and resiliency in mind in order to achieve the required minimum 50-year service life. Its major load-bearing elements include 24-inch diameter epoxy coated steel pipe piles, cast-in-place concrete pile caps and edge beams, precast concrete deck planks and a topping slab with a built in utility trench. Two unique features of the pier are a two-ton crane for lifting small boats and research shed that will be utilized to store sensitive scientific equipment to monitor water quality in Narragansett Bay. An access trestle was also constructed within the original trestle's footprint to avoid permanent impact to mapped eel grass beds to the north and south. The new pier is 200 feet long and 42 feet wide, while the connecting access trestle is 210 feet long and 24 feet wide consisting of concrete decks and beams supported by concrete-filled steel piles driven between 120 feet to 150 feet deep into the sea floor. A pile supported abutment connects the access trestle to land. The abutment is supported by fifteen HP14x117 piles that are 100' long with a mixture of battered and plumb piles.

While pile driving was in the base scope of the project, Mohawk also utilized sheet piling to temporarily retain the earth while they excavated for the new concrete pumphouse. Using their previously purchased ICE® Model 416L Vibratory Driver/Extractor the crew installed seventy-seven 24" (In) diameter steel pipe piles, followed by an ICE® Model D-50 Single-Acting Diesel Pile Hammer in 32" ICE® leads to drive them to tip. Thirteen 65' (Ft) long timber piles were also placed as part of a secondary fender system. One of the crews' biggest challenges was battling the weather and working on the water while using hanging leads. Even with these difficulties, the experts at Mohawk were able to modify the ICE® leads to hang at the correct batter, completing 22 plumb piles, 25 battered piles at 4:1 and 30 battered piles at 3:1. Due to the importance of this pier, both economically and environmentally, a pile indicator program was also part of this project.  

Spectacular work to the entire Mohawk Northeast team! Thank you for choosing to partner with International Construction Equipment, Inc. (ICE®) and trusting us to supply your crew with the deep foundation equipment they can count on. The overall construction of this monumental pier is outstanding. From the foundation up, this pier was constructed with attention to detail and the greatest of workmanship, easily meeting the stringent requirements for this campus modernization. The entire world will truly benefit from this important infrastructure upgrade to one of our nation's most important scientific research and educational facilities.  

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Posted in Diesel Impact Pile Hammers, ICE Team, Vibratory Pile Hammers. Tagged as Commercial Build, ICE 416L Vibratory Hammer, ICE Model D-50 Diesel Hammer, ICE Pile Driving Leads & Spotters, Infrastructure, Marine Foundation.

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