Crews watch Wednesday as a floating construction crane drives the first group of pilings for what will become a new U.S. Navy escort vessel pier at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles on Ediz Hook. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Crews watch Wednesday as a floating construction crane drives the first group of pilings for what will become a new U.S. Navy escort vessel pier at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles on Ediz Hook. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Pile-driving begins for Navy pier project at Ediz Hook

PORT ANGELES — Pile-driving began Wednesday on the Navy’s $25.6 million pier project on Ediz Hook.

Not that city residents, going about their business downtown on the other side of Port Angeles Harbor, would know it.

The vibratory hammer began driving the first piles for the 425-foot pier and trestle at 9:54 a.m. Wednesday off the southern shore of Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles.

While the project, which faces the city shoreline, also will include louder impact pile-driving, a quiet clatter issued Wednesday from the vibratory APE 200 hammer during a frigid visit to the worksite.

The 13,000-pound driver being used for the project pushes out 170 tons of drive force at up to 1,650 vibrations per minute while hanging from a crane and balanced on the 18-inch-diameter end of a 97-foot steel pile being inched into the harbor floor.

“People may hear something in the distance, but it’s not going to be something big and disruptive,” on-site Navy Engineering Technician Rich Hickey said.

Pile-driving will occur up to four hours a day for up to 75 days over 18 weeks, according to the Navy’s August 2016 environmental assessment.

Noise-generating activities will occur from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and be exempt from state and city noise regulations, according to the assessment.

“The temporary increase in noise levels would not be incompatible with existing adjacent uses,” the assessment said.

Workers from Watts-Orion Joint Venture of Gig Harbor expect to drive 27 of 107 permanent piles for the dock by Feb. 15, Justin Strong, a Watts-Orion site supervisor, said Wednesday.

The in-water construction window that permits pile-driving closes Feb. 15 to protect salmon species and reopens July 16.

Navy officials have said they want to complete the project by February 2018.

The pier will serve serve vessels and crews that escort Naval Base Kitsap submarines as part of the Navy’s Transportation Protection System.

Land was being prepared Wednesday just east of the dock site for construction of upland support buildings for the pier.

They include an 8,200-square-foot alert forces facility, with sleeping quarters, that will house 20 to 30 personnel; an above-ground 10,000-gallon diesel fuel-marine storage tank; and a 200-square-foot ready-service armory for small arms and ammunition, according to the assessment.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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