Port of Long Beach: West Basin Approach Borrow Project

Status: Awarded
Award Type: Airports & Ports Project

Project Information

Name: Port of Long Beach: West Basin Approach Borrow Project
Company: Port of Long Beach
Project Location:

Port of Long Beach, CA

Project Photo:
Project Description:

In 2005 the Port implemented the Green Port Policy as an effort to mitigate the impact its operations were having on the local community and environment. In keeping with the Green Port Policy, the Port has worked to make their facilities more efficient and cleaner and the Middle Harbor Terminal (MHT) Redevelopment Program is one of the projects that exemplify this effort. When complete the MHT will be one of the greenest and efficient terminals in the world. 
The MHT program involves combining two container terminals into a single large automated terminal. In order to combine the two aging terminals, the Port had to find enough fill material to create 22 acres of new land. The Port of Long Beach (Port) selected the West Basin and the Inner Harbor Turning Basin as primary dredge locations to serve as borrow sites for the Middle Harbor Terminal (MHT) Redevelopment Program.
Choosing to strategically dredge material from within the limits of the Port of Long Beach Harbor, the Port not only satisfied the fill requirement for the new MHT, but also addressed a number of additional benefits for its other facilities, such as improving navigation within the West Basin, removing residual trace contaminants from the West Basin, and eliminating the need for importing material from an outside source.  Additionally, by dredging the West Basin for this project, it eliminated the need to have a separate project for improving navigation within the West Basin in the future.

Project Justification:

Use of the West Basin as a source of a borrow site for the MHT fill site is a great example of the beneficial implementation of the Port’s Green Port Policy because through the use of forward thinking approaches, multiple Port needs were satisfied under a single contract. Moreover, the use of fill material from within the Port limits reduced the need for import material from outside sources, thus reducing the potential emissions from transport vehicles and the costs associated with significant import material. This forward thinking approach could be used as a great example to other public agencies to improve efficiencies in their capital improvement programs.

Special Circumstances:

This highly complex project required constant communication among the project team.  The team consisted of the design team (KPFF, Moffat & Nichol, AnchorQEA, Divers, and many additional sub consultants), the Port (owner), the contractor, terminal operators and vessel pilots. The project also required coordination with multiple public agencies such as the state water board and the army corps of engineers.  Communication between all agencies and departments was crucial for the success of the project and from the consistent communication; the parties involved developed very good working and personal relationships that were built on professional respect and trust. 
The need for consistent communication was critical in coordinating the fill and the dredging design.  While one design team member was designing the fill the other design team members were designing the dredging of the West Basin, and still another design team was designing the dredging of the Inner Harbor Turning Basin.  The West Basin alone called for 1.6 million cubic yards to be dredged and this large volume of material had to be coordinated within the fill, not only to accommodate the other fill sources, but also to satisfy the placement requirements that were placed on the material due to the characterization that was performed during design.  Due to the 50 years of naval operations of the former Long Beach Naval Complex (LBNC), the West Basin contained contaminated sediments. The Port has made significant remediation efforts to remove the contamination within the West Basin and the latest cleanup effort removed 600,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments. However even after significant remediation efforts on the part of the Port, trace residuals of contaminated sediments in select areas were discovered.  The development of the MHT presented a great opportunity to remove this contaminated sediment from the West Basin while at the same time, reusing the dredged material as fill for the proposed MHT. 
Another challenge for the West Basin was the discovery of unknown submerged piles within the footprint of the borrow site. The initial piles discovered were from an unknown former Navy pier that had been demolished prior to the development of the Pier T terminal. Once these piles were discovered, the design team made every attempt to determine the number and location of any other remaining piles within the dredging footprint. The research effort involved reviewing old photographs, hydrographic surveys, field investigations, remote operated vehicles, and personal interviews of those with previous experience of the former piers. It was determined that the piles remnants were from the former Navy piers that were demolished during the Pier T development. The research revealed that some of the piles from the former piers were not completely removed, which therefore meant that in addition to the piles sticking up above the mud line, there was also the possibility that there were piles just below the mud line.  The challenges associated with the existence of these pile remnants (concrete, timber, and steel) were in determining the quantity of the piles as well as the impact to the dredging method for the areas within the former pier footprints. In addition to the challenges associated with sediment characterization, the amount of dredging material for the MHT fill site, and the submerged pile remnants, there was also the challenge of dredging near the Pier T wharf.
Pier T is one of the busiest terminals at the Port of Long Beach.  During design, the average number of ships calling on Pier T is 10 per week, which translated into having multiple ships at berth at a time, all the time. This high number of ships coming and going through the West Basin presented a significant logistical challenge because dredging along the 5000 ft wharf was part of the dredging operations. To address this issue, the design team subdivided the area along the wharf into 17 separate wharf segments. Strict constraints placed on the contractor were designed to allow for dredging operations while minimizing the impact to the terminal’s operations. The main constraints associated with the work in the wharf segments were: only one wharf segment can be worked on at a time, work cannot begin at another work segment until the wharf segment being worked on is complete, each wharf segment had a short work window to perform the work, and constant communication is to be maintained with the terminal operator and the pilots. It was understood that the strict constraints placed on the dredging operations constituted very complicated logistical challenges; however, it was also understood that maintaining shipping operations is critical to the Port.
Due to the scale and complexity of this project, KPFF was given the honor of giving multiple presentations on this project at the 2016 PORTS Conference in New Orleans.

Project Attachments:

This project a huge coordination effort not only during design, but also in construction.  There were three separate designers for the project with each design team having their own subconsultants.

Award Citation:

The Port of Long Beach’s West Basin Approach Borrow Project exemplifies their commitment to making every effort to mitigate the impacts that their operations have to the community. This project satisfied the need for one project while addressing other needs within the Harbor, thus combining multiple projects into one.

Suggested Award Summary:

The Port of Long Beach’s West Basin Approach Borrow Project provided fill for the Middle Harbor Terminal, Phase 3 while improving navigational safety within the West Basin and other areas around the Harbor District.  This forward thinking approach is consistent with their Green Port Policy whereby the Port makes every effort to find opportunities to limit the impact that construction projects have on their operations while at the same time reducing emissions from separate construction projects. This approach is another example that demonstrates their commitment to their community and the environment.

Additional Information

Additional Information:

The West Basin was the primary borrow site for the Middle Harbor Terminal, Phase 3 fill.  The West Basin is an active access route for the Pier T Terminal, which has historically been one of the busiest terminal at the Port of Long Beach. This traffic required a comprehensive phasing approach that included significant coordination with the terminal operator.

Additional Files: Dredge Bucket
Demolition of Existing Piles