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Ports Authority begins $6.7M project to rebuild Pier 3 in Old San Juan

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has begun the work to rebuild Pier 3 in the San Juan bay, at a cost of nearly $6.7 million, agency Executive Director Joel A. Pizá-Batiz announced today.

For the job, the agency awarded a contract to Del Valle Group LLC, which is expected to complete the repair of a section of the east side of Pier 3, which toppled over after the Norwegian Epic cruise ship slammed into it on Feb. 12, 2019 when it was docking after confronting mechanical problems at sea.

The impact, Pizá Batiz added, affected the pier’s mooring dolphins BD-5 and BD-6, and the catwalks that connect BD-4 to BD-5, DB-5 to BD-6, and BD-6 to Pier 3. The concrete columns supporting the mooring dolphins, bollards, and walkways collapsed on impact, all falling to the seabed.

After a study process that culminated in obtaining the federal permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, PRPA proceeded with the bids and awards phase in mid-2020.

The project is expected to be completed in 14 months or earlier, given that the work will be done during the ongoing pause on cruise ship traffic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pizá-Batiz told News is my Business.

“This is a priority project for Ports, since Pier 3 is used mostly by cruise ships in transit. With the suspension of cruise ship operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important to begin these repairs as soon as possible,” he said.

“It should be noted that our insurance company subrogated and placed a claim to the cruise line, so no public funds will be used to rebuild the pier,” Pizá-Batiz said, noting that the legal petition by the agency’s insurer to Norwegian is ongoing.

The project will consist of the removal of 90 tons of collapsed structures from the seabed, reconstruction of the two mooring dolphins and collapsed columns, the reinstallation of the bollards, skirt systems and walkways, plus the repair and replacement of all the electrical, plumbing and lighting systems affected by the impact.

The Pier 3 reconstruction project will take place parallel to the development of a new $20 million passenger building complex at the same location, as News is my Business reported exclusively in January.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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