Firm racing toward deadline on Port Townsend jetty

Underwater work must be done by Jan. 31

PORT TOWNSEND — The company in charge of constructing the new south jetty at Point Hudson Marina is doubling the number of its crew and shifting to a round-the-clock schedule in order to complete underwater work on the project by the end of the month.

Orion Marine Group is racing to meet a Jan. 29 deadline set by federal and state agency biologists when all in-water work must end. The date is an extension of the original Jan. 15 end-of-work window intended to minimize the impact of construction on salmon and other marine species.

Orion decided to switch to a 24-hour schedule with two crews working six days a week on back-to-back 12-hour shifts last week. The change will not affect the cost of the project, Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Eron Berg said.

“The contractor agreed to complete a scope of work within a time period, so they have control of the site and control of the work week,” Berg said. “It’s really been up to them to decide how they want to perform the work.”

Berg said Orion was finished pile driving but still needed to mount the waling beams and tie rods that help keep the piles in place.

“It’s getting all the steel in and making it secure so they can put that 5,000 tons of rock in,” he said. “Then in the month of February they’ll be able to do anything above the ordinary high water mark.”

Orion began work in September immediately after the Wooden Boat Festival ended. Although the weather has been fairly cooperative, Berg said there were elements of the south jetty that made the project more challenging than the north jetty that was completed ahead of schedule last January.

“It’s physically longer, it’s in deeper water, and there was also prepping to move a bunch of unsuitable material and replacing it with thousands of tons of bedding and armourstone,” Berg said.

Orion also had to bring back an impact hammer to drive about a dozen piles when a hydraulic vibrator was unable to penetrate the shoreline.

Berg said he believed the noise would be minimal, although there have been no complaints so far from neighbors during construction.

After the in-water work window closes, Orion will focus on the above-water portions of the project, like constructing the pedestrian walkway. All work must be completed by March 1, when Point Hudson is scheduled to re-open to marine traffic.

The port plans to hold an event in April to celebrate completion of both the north and south jetty projects.

Funding for the $14 million Point Hudson jetty replacement comes from a combination of federal, state, county and the port’s Industrial Development District levy.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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