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Crew Connection—Seasoned Crew Leads Pier 6 to Success

A marine construction crew at Naval Base San Diego.
The Pier 6 Crew stand in unison for Construction Inclusion Week 2022.

Since 2000, Manson has replaced and modernized several piers at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), including Piers 10,11, 12, and 8. Capitalizing on the success of these past projects, Manson bid and was awarded the P-443 Pier 6 Replacement project, a task order under the NAVFAC Southwest Waterfront MACC, that brought back Manson’s talented project personnel to demolish and reconstruct the aging marine structure at NBSD.

The project team’s continual success, familiarity, and teamwork at NBSD originates with the demolition and replacement of Pier 12 in 2011, according to Senior Vice President and West Coast Regional Manager Ryan King. “A lot of the players have changed, but the team effort started back then and has continually improved with each project,” Ryan explains. “This project has a lot of long-term craft employees that have positively impacted the project itself along with our engineering staff, apprentices, journeyman, and NBSD personnel. Our experienced Manson foremen have continued to teach our project team to be builders, a key to Manson’s continued success.”

The craft workers at Pier 6 are a remarkable assembly of superintendents, foreman, journeymen, and apprentices led by industry veterans. VALKYRIE Piledriver Foreman Eddie Heredia and Laborer Crew Foreman Arturo Alvarez whose dual leadership—for the pile driving and construction phases—proved instrumental in getting the job done. “Both Arturo and Eddie bring a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience at NBSD to the project,” says Project Engineer Conner Long. “As a newcomer to NBSD, it was helpful to lean on the knowledge and experience of the project team, especially key craft personnel like Eddie and Arturo to complete various phases of the project.”

The Pier 6 Replacement Project is similar to work completed at Pier 8, which involved demolishing and reconstructing one of the many nearly identical piers at NBSD to support the U.S. Navy’s marine fleet. The new marine structure at Pier 6 measures 120 ft. by 1,500 ft—identical to Pier 12 and shorter than Pier 8.

Taking the lessons learned and experience of the work done at the previous piers, Manson’s NBSD project team and crew knew what to expect. “With most of the Pier 8 project team and craft guys returning to Pier 6, everybody knew what the project phases would look like on the job,” says Pier 6 Project Manager Jack Fernandez. “We have an exceptionally skilled crew who’ve worked on Piers 8 and 12 and understand the importance of executing work safely and on time.”

A marine construction site at Naval Base San Diego.
An aerial view of the Pier 6 project site at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, CA. Photo credit: Conner Long—Project Engineer

In December 2021, the derrick barge VALHALLA and its crew kicked off the deck demolition of the existing structure at Pier 6. Crews cut sections of the existing deck for removal by barge. Once a portion of the deck demolition was complete, the derrick barge VIKING and crew followed behind demolishing the existing piles. With the unique advantage of completing similar work at Pier 8, crews finished the demolition ahead of schedule in February 2022. When it came time to commence piledriving operations, Eddie and the VALKYRIE crew drove 517 concrete piles which would support the new concrete deck. Instrumental in completing piledriving for previous piers at NBSD, Pier 6 would mark the fifth pier at NBSD for the VALKYRIE crew.

General Foreman Chris Schultz—who retired in December 2022—worked with General Superintendent Kurt Hinkle to implement the same strategy and approach from Pier 8 to complete the deck for Pier 6.

“The knowledge and experience of building Pier 8 translated well for the foremen and carpenter crews tasked with building the deck for Pier 6,” Chris explains. “With Pier 6, some of the formwork and processes changed, but working with experienced personnel like Kurt helped mitigate any potential problems for the crews.” In addition, Foremen Scott Jones—returning from Pier 8—worked diligently to advance through the various phases of the work, including falsework, installation, soffit, and concrete placement.

Led by key Pier 6 craft personnel members, including Arturo and Chris, the first of the primary concrete pours for the main deck was accomplished by June 2022. Then, shortly after the final secondary pour in the Fall of 2022, Manson mobilized the VIKING and crews to begin pile driving for the primary fender system for the new pier. Led by Foreman Jeff Jensen, a total of 216 ea. 24 in. concrete square piles were driven incident and injury free, three days ahead of the work schedule in January 2023. “The level of skill and communication of the Pier 6 craft has benefited the staff and project as a whole,” Jack says. “Both groups take sticking to the work schedule seriously and work extremely hard to get the job done.”

The first-hand knowledge of Manson’s Pier 6 craft personnel, paired with effective communication, professionalism, and experience, has yielded successful results for all phases of the project. “The Pier 6 project was successfully completed with zero injuries, ahead of schedule, and under budget,” Ryan explains. “This project would not have been possible without the strong partnerships of our clients, vendors, subcontractors, along with the extremely skilled Manson craft builders.”

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