News: Underwater Construction Team 2 repairs pier in the Kwajalein Atoll
By Andrea Howry
EBEYE ISLAND, Marshall Islands - What happens when a massive cargo ship slams into a pier in the Marshall Islands? The ship wins, and the pier ends up on the seafloor. This is where Underwater Construction Team 2 Construction Dive Detachment Alpha enters the picture.
As part of the Pacific Partnership 2013 exercise, CDD Alpha deployed to the Marshall Islands to salvage the destroyed sections of the Ebeye Pier and repair the structure so it could be used to support humanitarian aid and disaster relief in the future.
Ebeye is a small island, less than 80 acres and home to more than 11,000 Marshallese.
The pier is the only one Ebeye has. It is a high traffic area for the entire community and is used by thousands daily — or it was until the accident left a 10-foot by 20-foot hole in the south end.
The joint project partnered UCT 2 with the U.S. Army and the host nation. The Kwajalein Atoll Joint Utilities Resource and Kwajalein Atoll Local Government volunteered personnel and equipment, including a large crane that pulled the concrete out of the water and secured it on land.
On Ebeye, nothing goes to waste. The salvaged sections of the pier, some weighing more than 10 tons, are being used to protect the valuable coastline from erosion.
The pier repair was designed by Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Kubic, who just ended his tour as commanding officer of UCT 2.
The pier was built by the Japanese during their World War II occupation of the island.
Because information on its original design and construction wasn’t available, Kubic decided the best course of action would be to return the structure to its original appearance.
A site survey conducted by UCT 2 determined that the original concrete deck panels were 10-feet long, 4-feet wide and 10-inches thick, reinforced with No. 6 reinforcing steel spaced 6 inches on center. This gave the original reinforced steel panels a steel ratio 0.0092.
“My concern after seeing the large amount of steel placed in the original concrete slabs was ensuring our repair would meet the under-reinforced condition required by the American Concrete Institutes code,” Kubic said.
The replacement slabs were prefabricated in Guam by the U.S. Army’s 84th Engineering Battalion and shipped to Kwajalein, where they were placed by the Seabees of UCT 2.
"The results of UCT 2's project repairing the Ebeye inter-island pier are fantastic,” said Maj. Savo, the officer in charge of the host nation. “Thanks to UCT 2, it is now much safer. The project also contributes directly to the humanitarian assistance effort in that it makes it much easier and safer to connect hoses for bulk water delivery and distribute other relief supplies in the event of a water crisis.”
Kwajalein was CDD Alpha’s last stop during its six-month deployment across the Pacific. The Seabees also visited Kauai, the Philippines and South Korea.