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State Pier should be ready for wind turbine deliveries in February

Wind turbines stand in Western Maine along the Kibby Mountain range.
Pat Wellenbach
Wind turbines stand in Western Maine along the Kibby Mountain range.

Work to redevelop the State Pier in New London to be a hub for the offshore wind industry is on schedule to be almost complete by February. Delivery of wind turbine parts for the South Fork Wind project should start arriving soon after.

The total cost of the project is $255 million — more than double the original estimate in 2019. The State Pier facility's delivery service is also set to be six months behind schedule. The harbor development agreement, executed in February 2020, included a completion date of August 31, 2022.

“While still on target for completion this spring 23,” said Ulysses Hammond, the interim executive director of the Connecticut Port Authority in charge of the redevelopment, during its final board of directors meeting for 2022.

He said that five of six key construction areas are ahead or on target, but they are still dealing with pile driving issues and underwater obstructions at the site.

“As we informed you at the October meeting, additional testing of the piles that comprise the anchor wall have confirmed a lack of tension capacity or strength within the soil, which requires an additional set of micro piles at south wall and perhaps the annex,” Hammond said.

Hammond did not say how much these additional micro piles would add to the cost of State Pier or when this leg of the project would finish. During the October meeting, he said the underwater snag with State Pier project could cost Connecticut another $7 million. Hammond said a final “guaranteed maximum price” could be expected at the board’s next meeting in January.

“Rock pockets must be drilled into the bedrock to provide slope stability underneath the pier, prior to the dredging of that berth pocket,” said Marlin Peterson with the project management company, AECOM. “Again, that’s one of the unique characteristics both at the delivery and installation berth associated with offshore wind. The requirements are five times the typical loading of a container terminal.”

Federal and state investigations are also underway into how Kiewit, the construction management firm hired by the Connecticut Port Authority, selected contracts for the project — with many of them awarded to themselves.

Still, twelve wind turbines are anticipated to leave the facility for an offshore lease area maintained by Orsted and Eversource, 35-miles east of Montauk Point in summer of 2023. South Fork Wind will supply power to East Hampton on Long Island.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.