A vital economic generator for the area, last year the port was given the go-ahead for a $437.5 million expansion to handle increasing demand. Known as the Southport Turning Notch Expansion, Keller company HJ Foundation was appointed by general contractor Moss Kiewit to install more than 1,700 piles in three phases.
Over the three phases HJ will install 1,741 augercast piles at diameters of 16, 18 and 24in, all up to 92ft long. The team recently finished installing 792 piles for phase one and will return in 2020 and 2021 for the remaining stages.
"What made the first phase so challenging was that we had to install the piles while the port remained fully operational," explained senior project manager Andres Enciso. "So, we worked closely with the contractor to rigorously coordinate the works and deliveries, ensuring port operations went uninterrupted and employees could safely access areas.
"This meant that we had to contain all the spoil and grout within very tightly confined work areas; not easy with such large rigs."
Adding to the challenge, some piles needed to be installed where there were already existing structures and utilities. This required constant and clear communication between engineers, project management, field operations and Moss Kiewit to accommodate deviations and create quick redesigns. Around five per cent of the piles were batter piles, installed at a 1:5 angle.
"We successfully completed the first phase on time within 21 weeks without any safety incidents and with all the planned logistics and sequencing working well to ensure port operations ran safely and continuously," added Enciso.