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Connecticut Port Authority launches website on State Pier developments

The Connecticut Port Authority on Thursday launched a website, www.statepiernewlondon.com, aimed at providing information on the planned $157 million transformation of State Pier.

The website is managed by AECOM Technical Services Inc., the port authority’s construction administrator for the project. It is expected to be updated in real time and another way that Connecticut Port Authority Board Chairman David Kooris said the public will have an opportunity to learn about the project and its progress.

One of the key milestones in the project will come in December, when the port authority anticipates a vote on a construction manager at-risk, a company that port authority Executive Director John Henshaw said will compile bid packages for various aspects of upcoming construction.

It is during that process that the port authority will learn how accurate the $157 million cost estimates are.

“When the CMR comes on board, the first major task is vetting our estimates,” Kooris said.

The project is being funded, with state support, by joint venture partners Orsted and Eversource and is expected to be completed by late 2022 and a serve as a base for wind turbine assembly and staging for several major offshore wind developments in the pipeline.

The two existing piers — State Pier and the adjacent Central Vermont Railroad, or CV, Pier — will become one large pier and the relevant permit applications needed to start that work, which includes dredging, remain in the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Kooris said he expects an upcoming public hearing for DEEP to solicit comments as part of their process.

Additionally, work awaits federal deauthorization of the Long Dock Branch Channel, a federal channel that runs between the two piers and predates the construction of State Pier. The deauthorization is part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 and is awaiting congressional approval.

Environmental remediation testing also is completed at State Pier, Kooris said, and the information gleaned from those tests will be compiled into a remediation action plan being handled by the state Department of Transportation, which owned the State Pier property before it was transferred to the port authority. The DOT, as part of the transfer agreement, is responsible for remediation. That work is not likely to start before the new year.

Environmental testing was the reason for the shift of the massive salt pile at State Pier owned by DRVN Enterprises. DRVN is among other State Pier tenants being forced off the site and has until the end of the year to move the pile or forfeit it to the port authority. Longshoremen are without jobs since the port, for the time being, is no longer hosting traditional cargo ships.

Skanska, a construction company working off of State Pier and supporting the work at Electric Boat across the river in Groton, is expected to complete its work by the end of the year, Kooris said. The port authority is exploring options for relocating two commercial fishing outfits docked at CV Pier.

In a statement related to the announcement of its new website, Henshaw said the goal of the Connecticut Port Authority is to make “generational improvements to transform State Pier in New London into a state-of-the-art heavy lift capable port facility that will accommodate a wide variety of cargoes, including wind turbine generator staging and assembly.”

“The proposed State Pier infrastructure improvements are being designed to address previously identified facility shortcomings, and enhance the State Pier facility and site conditions to accommodate future cargo needs and capitalize on opportunities for the State of Connecticut,” he said.

g.smith@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the address of the website: HYPERLINK "http://www.statepiernewlondon.com" www.statepiernewlondon.com.

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