PORT TOWNSEND — The rebuild of the jetty at Point Hudson that protects the marina from storms is ahead of schedule, say officials with the Port of Port Townsend.
Capital Facilities Director Matt Klontz said last week that Orion Marine Contractors is a week or 10 days ahead of schedule and that the marina may be able to open earlier than Orion’s March 1 deadline, according to a press release.
Most of the 178 steel piles for the new jetty have been installed, including those that form the protective dogleg, Klontz said.
That means placing the new rock inside the pilings can start earlier than expected.
The marina has been closed since mid-September for the rebuild work. All boats were moved to the Boat Haven Marina or other locations. Only vessels waiting for work by Sea Marine at the head of Point Hudson are in the marina today.
“The placement of pilings has gone very well, without obstructions,” Klontz said, saying that it was due to Orion’s success in pulling out both old creosoted pilings and old stone above and below mud.
It turns out the old pilings weren’t as long as initially thought, he said.
Orion expected to remove a total of 480 tons of old pilings. The actual total was 250 tons.
Another surprise was the muted noise of the project to date, the result of Orion’s use of a vibratory hammer rather than a traditional pile-driver.
“Orion has been great to work with,” Klontz said.
Some of the new thick-walled steel pilings are 60 feet long, Klontz said. All were driven 25 to 30 feet below the mud line of Port Townsend Bay. All are 16 feet above the zero tide level.
The rebuild schedule also has benefited from mostly calm, sunny weather and the timely delivery of materials such as the steel piles.
Once the piles are all in place, the half-ton basalt stones that will fill the inside of the pilings will arrive by barge from Tacoma, the port said in the release.
The rock comes from a quarry near Orting. The huge overhead crane on site will load stones to the halfway point of the pilings, Klontz said in the release. Then tie rods will attach the pilings across the cribbing to one another. Afterwards, the rest of the rock will be loaded in with an excavator.
Orion is working on the north jetty now. The Tacoma-based firm is expected to return in September 2023 to rebuild the south jetty.
The entire project, which was in the works for at least a decade, is expected to cost $14 million, of which half comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce and another $2.5 million from Washington state.
The balance comes from the port’s voter-approved Industrial Development District levy, Jefferson County’s infrastructure fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The current Point Hudson jetties were built in 1934. Deterioration over the decades has allowed windstorms to sweep through the marina during high winter tides. The marina has 50 boater slips, an annual 5,000 vessel visits and is home to business that employ more than 150 residents.