Client: US Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District
Location: Shemya Island, Alaska
Completion Year: 2017
Scope of Work:
- Sophisticated Logistics
- Planning and Management
Brice performed a design-build project at Eareckson Air Station (AS) fuel pier to ensure that vital fuel and supplies could be safely offloaded on Shemya Island. Eareckson AS serves as an Air Force refueling station as well as an intercontinental emergency landing strip for commercial air traffic crossing the Pacific Ocean. The AS fuel pier was 30 years old and had corroded due to the constant harsh weather conditions that characterize the region (Shemya is located in the westernmost region of the Aleutian Islands, approximately 1,500 air miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska).
Design—Brice performed engineering design with four main goals in mind: 1) extend the fuel pier’s life to 50 instead of 30 years; 2) minimize future repair and maintenance costs; 3) reduce safety risk working in and over rough waters while performing fuel pier upgrades; 4) maximize productivity while working under the difficult weather conditions typical of the Aleutian Islands (constant wind and rain). For example, Brice designed a sacrificial anode system (channel-mounted) to inhibit steel corrosion below the waterline and reduce risk to workers by eliminating the need for underwater divers and underwater welding of the anodes while providing a robust passive protection system. To reduce repairs and maintenance costs, we included modern building techniques and materials such as protective nosing to protect the fueling hose lines from damage along the top corner of the wall.
Construction—The largest single activity was cleaning and coating the steel bulkhead and fuel pier wall using a hanging basket/work platform system. Because surface blasting and cleaning were the most time consuming activities, Brice utilized an excavator equipped with blasting equipment to bulk clean the pier wall prior to finer cleaning and adjusted work hours to maintain constant blasting operations. Once clean, we coated all blasted surfaces with the base layer prior to the end of each shift. The surface was power-washed to remove salt spray and other debris prior to application of the anti-corrosion coating. Brice successfully applied coatings down to the mean sea-level by maximizing productivity during low tide.
We replaced the existing steel pipe curb on the pier deck and installed new mooring bollards. To remove the bollards, relief lines were cut at approximately a 5-foot square around each bollard and demolished the concrete using a hydraulic demo hammer. Once the concrete was removed, we constructed a new mooring bollard and rebar cage in each hole. To eliminate the cost of large scale batching equipment, Brice designed a more cost effective and efficient small batch concrete process to fill each hole with 5.25 cubic yards of concrete. Pre-sacked aggregate and cement were mixed in a one yard powered mixer at each pour location.
Brice also installed four new safety ladders by attaching the ladder hardware to the wall following the first wall coating. After hardware attachment, the threads were covered for protection. The remaining wall coatings followed. Once wall coatings were complete, we mounted the ladders. This sequence minimized damage to the protective coating and rework.
Management—To maximize productivity during the limited field season that is often compromised by the severe weather of the Aleutian Islands, Brice chartered dedicated flights to mobilize field personnel to Eareckson AS. We also developed and assigned a matrixed crew skilled in a variety of the labor categories, eliminating the need for additional specialty personnel and allowed us to maximize personnel utilization onsite.
Safety—Working at the water’s edge along a pier presented unique safety issues including working at height and working adjacent to cold and rough waters. As part of our comprehensive safety plan, we implemented a full-time rescue skiff. We also performed rescue drills at project kickoff, and then monthly and/or each time a new field person arrived to the project site. Daily inspections were performed to ensure skiff operability. Field crew wore personal flotation devices when working anywhere on the pier, and fall protection was required within 10 feet of the water’s edge, in compliance with OSHA and EM-385-1-1 requirements.
Brice also worked closely with the USACE Dive Safety Inspector to ensure diver safety through rigorous dive equipment inspections and equipment support.
Corrective Action—During mobilization, the Air Force had to conduct fueling operations at the pier. Per contract requirements, Brice was obligated to vacate the area until further notice. We included two days of contingency in our budget and schedule in anticipation of fueling operations. However, fueling operations lasted 25 days, putting schedule at risk. Once we resumed operations, Brice added field personnel to maximize productivity during the limited field season. We also extended our daily working hours when weather conditions were favorable. Despite the initial delay, Brice completed the project on time as a result of our proactive planning and resource management.
Corrective Action—During fieldwork, we lost operability of the crane being used to perform work over water using a man-basket and to deploy the emergency lifeboat. To remedy the situation with minimal downtime, we redirected the crew to perform work away from the water’s edge, while parts were removed from other onsite equipment to fix the crane. Brice successfully resumed work back at the water’s edge within a day’s time.
Corrective Action—A major storm occurred that was strong enough to cause our cathodic protection attachment system to fail (the forces underwater were greater than calculable). While demobilized, we redesigned the anode system to hang on the wall, which necessitated the use of divers to perform welding underwater (unlike the previous design). We then returned to the jobsite the following field season to reinstall the cathodic protection, and complete the project within budget and to client satisfaction.