The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Command Site for its San Jacinto West Fork Emergency Dredging Project is a beehive of construction activity. I spent two hours at the site this morning at the invitation of the Corps. Now I can see why the prep is taking as long as it is. I had no idea so much was involved. Last week, I posted pictures of dozens of trucks arriving with equipment and pipe. This week they are assembling the first dredge of two and welding miles of dredge pipe…even as more arrives every hour.
First of Two Dredges Nearing Completion
Because of their size, two dredges are being delivered to the site in pieces and assembled there. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, the contractor, brought in a 300-ton crane last week to lift the biggest pieces to the water’s edge. At the moment, two smaller 70-ton cranes are completing the work – lifting pumps, motors, stabilizers and other equipment into place.
Miles of Dredge Pipe Being Welded and Weighted
As workers assemble the first dredge near the water’s edge, other workers weld miles of dredge pipe together from 40-foot sections in a separate staging area. Each section weighs about 4,000 pounds. And each string is 1,000 feet long – about a fifth of a mile. These longer sections will then be put together with booster pumps to pipe spoils directly from the river to placement areas.
Do not attempt to visit this site. Stay away for your own safety. Huge construction equipment is moving about the site. Operators have limited visibility and they’re focused on balancing their loads, not looking out for unauthorized visitors.
Actual dredging should start in about ten days. When it does, it won’t be safe to be in a boat between the US59 and the West Lake Houston Park Bridges.
The pipe you see above will be submerged and marked with these buoys.
Dredging operations will continue 24/7 until completion. There is no safe time of day or day of the week to be in this section of the river.
Pipe will extend from wherever the current dredging is to one of two placement areas. One is south of Kingwood College and the other is between the river and Townsend east of US59.
Posted on August 20, 2018 by Bob Rehak
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