Construction on Heritage Wharf *File photo
Construction on Heritage Wharf *File photo

The Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Trevor Moniz, JP, MP, in his ongoing efforts to keep the general public abreast of the construction works to the Heritage Wharf, advised that the good weather last week enabled the Ministry of Public Works to move forward with progress on both of the breasting dolphins (mooring structures) early in the week. The Ministry is hoping the good weather will be sustained to allow construction to continue without delay. However, work was temporarily stopped on the northern breasting dolphin due to an incident where a wake from a passing vessel caused damage to the crane.  

As the ongoing work to this wharf is critical to the country, the Ministry would ask all commercial and public shipping to be sure that they reduce their speeds to ensure they do not throw any wake in the vicinity of the works.  This is vital not just for the progress of the works but more importantly for the safety of the workforce who are operating heavy machinery in difficult conditions. The marine police have been alerted and will be monitoring the area to ensure compliance. But the cooperation of the vessel operators is essential in this matter in order to prevent accidents causing damage or serious injury.

The damage to the dock appears superficial but such are the loads that are being carried that it is unsafe to use the crane for construction until repairs can be affected.  Spare parts were ordered immediately and are being flown in and the Ministry hopes to minimise the delay in construction progress to under a week on this structure.  In the mean time we will concentrate our efforts elsewhere and will redouble efforts on the northern breasting dolphin in a few days time.

Fourteen of the sixteen permanent works piles in the southern dolphin are now in place and before we were forced to stop works on the north we had placed eight piles.  Works will concentrate on welding extensions in the coming week and completion of driving of the piles on these structures. 

Workers on the project have concreted the precast elements for the breasting dolphins on schedule and are concentrating their efforts on pre fixing steel reinforcement for the main structures. This steel mat is being prepared off-site to save time and will be transported by barge and lifted in to place with the cranes once the piling operation is complete.

Visitors to Dockyard will have seen the erection of a structure in the Ground Transportation area near the site.  This complicated set up is for a pile test that must be carried out in order to confirm the design calculations and geotechnical drilling information that allow the Ministry to be certain of the strength of the piled foundations. 

The pile test requires that a 275 tonne jack is used to load up our test pile and measure the movement of the pile under load.  The pile has been driven in the Ground Transportation Area for ease of construction it is a 24 inch diameter pile that is driven in to 145 feet inside a 30 inch casing that has been cleaned out to the sea bed level so that we simulate the conditions of the permanent works piles.

The Ministry is using the floating docks from St Georges that were washed away during hurricane Fabian for counter weight to jack against and these will be filled with water.  After the test we will be re-using these floats in a maintenance programme for the ferry docks and for a temporary berthing space inside Dockyard.

The pile test will be completed next week and the equipment used there will be redeployed to hasten the permanent works construction.

The Minister reiterated previous remarks by stating: “Despite setbacks we remain confident that we will deliver a structure that befits a ship of the stature of the Norwegian Breakaway and that the dock will be prepared to receive this ship from its maiden voyage on the 15th of May this year”.