High water delays boat launch building

A 30-day extension for the construction of a boat launch for state and federal agencies at the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District’s dock has been granted because high water conditions that have occurred during the past month will require the installation of a cofferdam and the dewatering of the project’s concrete slabs.

Weston Solutions, the project engineer, and Engensus Engineering Consulting, the project architect, have requested and received a cofferdam design from Gray Construction in Bayou Vista, the project’s contractor.

Weston and Engensus are reviewing the design but have not received a response from Gray explaining at what water level they intend to begin construction.

While the boat launch will be located along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the waterway is also affected by the Atchafalaya’s high river levels.

“This high water we’ve been having was unanticipated,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jonathan Burton, commanding officer of the Morgan City Marine Safety Unit. “It’s kind of an oddball. The weather up north is really strange. You’re not getting a snowpack, but you’re getting lots and lots of rain that we don’t normally get this time of year. You normally get the snow pack (up north) and then the spring thaw (down here).”

Despite the extension, April Dykes, senior project scientist at Weston, noted in her report that contract documents indicated that the construction site was subject to varying water conditions.

The cofferdam is designed to a 5-foot elevation, but Burton said the water levels were below 5 feet as of Monday afternoon and going down.

“I think that flush that we had is pretty much done,” Burton said.

Those involved in the project will meet this week to discuss the relocation of the sewer/drainage pipe running through the launch area as well as temporary relocation of the overhead power lines near the launch area.

In other action during Monday’s meeting, commissioners approved a proposed amendment with Cenac Offshore for office space, which will reduce the port tenant’s rent by $750.

The amendment, which has not been approved by Cenac yet, proposed that Cenac vacate that office space at the port.

In turn, the port plans to move its offices to the old Cenac offices and rent out its existing offices to the St. Mary Parish Levee District.

The contract proposal, approved by the port, calls for the levee district to pay the port $1,000 per month plus 10 percent of utility costs. The lease, which also includes yard space, is for a year initially and then on a month-to-month basis.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Phillip Chauvin of T. Baker Smith reported that InterMoor’s bulkhead is complete and the only items that remain are the pouring of concrete for a crane pad and some excavation in the bayou by the pad.

During Monday’s meeting, the port agreed to payment No. 9 for $295,659 to Dolphin Services, the project’s contractor.

In other action during Monday’s meeting, commissioners:

—Authorized GSE Inc. to seek quotes to complete ductwork related to the mold and moisture problem in the port’s office building. Clay Breaud of GSE said he should have quotes by the March meeting. Breaud also reported that a pre-construction conference was held last month for the planned paving of the parking lot, and notice to proceed was issued. Work will begin on the U.S. Coast Guard side, and arrangements have been made for the Coast Guard to get their boats out. Breaud said work should begin soon.

—Learned from consultant Mike Knobloch that, based on information he has received, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed by Congress in December, slashed a great deal of Department of Homeland Security grant funding. In 2001, there was $3.38 billion available and now there is $1.35 billion available for nine different grant programs, including the Port Security Grant program. Homeland Security Grant Secretary Janet Napolitano will allocate the money this year, the first time that has happened. Port officials won’t know how much monies the port will receive until April.

—Knobloch also reported that the port was not a recipient of this year’s TIGER 3 grant program funds.

—Learned from Burton that a barge in Bayou Shaffer has not been removed yet, but a contract was supposed to be signed this week and the barge was to be salvaged onsite.

—Learned from Treasurer Deborah Garber that the port has a net loss at the moment in its budget because it has not received its share of $2 million in reimbursement for capital outlay monies it has spent. It will not receive a full reimbursement of the $2 million, however. The port also is awaiting its ad valorem taxes, which will help close some of the deficit that the reimbursement doesn’t cover.

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Franklin Banner-Tribune
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Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
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Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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