When Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners meet today as managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, they will get a progress report on the Terminal 5 modernization project in West Seattle.
Documents for the meeting (above, or here in PDF) reveal that part of the work hit a snag – pile-driving for slope stabilization had to be put on hold for almost two months. The briefing document says the problem was that wooden piles were snapping against “larger than documented riprap.” This was discovered within two weeks of the start of pile-driving in September; it was suspended in mid-October when they “determined that incremental adjustments would not work.” Within a month, the summary continues, they had a solution: to “replace 14” timber piles with 20” steel piles,” which also meant 40 percent fewer piles. They resumed pile-driving on December 5th. The document does not mention whether or how that’ll add to the cost, but there’s a significant schedule effect: “The first in-water work window will end February 15, 2020, and we are requesting an extension from the regulatory agency due to the in-water work delay.” The duration of the extension won’t be known until next month. As for what led to the pile problem, the slide deck prepared for the meeting elaborates: “As-builts and specs (were) not available and underwater investigation (2014) looked at a small sample.”
Overall, the summary says “T5 Berth Modernization Program is meeting major milestones, on schedule and budget.” Another note of interest: The “quiet zone” (to reduce train-horn noise) is at 90 percent design, with a “stakeholder meeting” expected before spring. Today’s meeting, meantime, is at 11:30 am in Tacoma and will be streamed here; see location and other info on the agenda.