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Posted 11/30/2016

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By Chris Schropp

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District and the City of Grand Haven are working in cooperation to update and repair the Grand Haven Harbor.

An integral part of navigation on Great Lakes, Grand Haven Harbor’s south pier is undergoing much needed repairs. Replacing the pier’s concrete cap is currently underway, making it the first major repair to the iconic pier structure since the 1950s.

“The pier is due for repairs, not only for pedestrians’ use, but also from a navigational aide standpoint and keeping the port operational”, said Tom O’Bryan, area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District's Grand Haven office. "“It is exciting to see this project moving forward and everyone working together.”

The Corps awarded the construction contract to Vazquez Commercial Contracting, LLC., headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. in August 2016 for $2.65 million. The project consists of demolishing the structural concrete cap of both the upper and lower slabs, inspecting the interior of the structure to assess the condition of the structural steel support and repairing as necessary. Once that is complete, the new reinforced concrete will be placed.

Due to limited access and load restrictions on the structure, the majority of repairs will be conducted from marine floating plant and crane barge. Vazquez, a minority owned emerging small business with a regional office located in Holland, Mich., subcontracted with The King Co. a marine contractor, also located in Holland, Mich., to perform a majority of the marine based work.

The City of Grand Haven, which owns and maintains the historic catwalk structure, temporarily removed the catwalk so the repairs to the concrete could take place.  The catwalk will be refurbished and reinstalled after completion of the concrete resurfacing.

Construction on the federal project began in early October 2016, but after several days of demolition and removal of approximately 100 feet of cap, work was halted for the season due to high waves.  The current schedule indicates demolition will resume in the spring of 2017, as soon as weather allows.  Concrete placement will take place through the summer and it is anticipated that completion of the project will occur by late summer/early fall 2017. 

Grand Haven Harbor is a federal deep draft commercial harbor located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Grand River.  Together with the north pier, the south pier plays an important role in making the harbor a significant regional receiving port on the Great Lakes, a harbor of refuge, as well as a popular recreational destination.