Completed six months ahead of schedule and within budget, the reconstructed 44th Drive Pier appeals to residents and businesses along the Long Island City waterfront in Queens, NY.
Despite excellent views of the Manhattan skyline, deterioration of the 44th Drive Pier along the East River, in Long Island City, Queens, made it an unappealing waterfront spot. Aiming to recapture this public space, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation sponsored reconstruction of the pier. Urban, as resident engineering inspection consultant, provided construction supervision and owner's representation services for the project.
Working Over Water is Never Easy
The pier’s location in a dense neighborhood, along with other factors, made reconstruction challenging. Work included removing the pier deck and timber piles, driving new concrete-filled open-end pipe piles, placing a new structural steel framework, and placing a new concrete deck slab.
Construction Materials Arrive by Boat
This project also entailed replacement of a 66-inch sewer outfall with a new reinforced concrete pipe and poured-in-place concrete encasement. That meant concrete had to be poured underwater. To avoid traffic and reduce disruptions to local businesses near the pier, boats delivered the needed materials to the project site. A cofferdam was installed—a challenging endeavor to accomplish along a large river—to create a dry area under the bridge for the piles. The alternative would be using an underwater concrete mix that would have increased the cost of construction. The cofferdam solution helped keep the project within budget, to the satisfaction of the client.
Consideration for local businesses, especially the two restaurants which sit on each side of the pier, was very important during installation of the cofferdam. Rather than take up space in the area and inconvenience businesses, a mounted crane on a barge was used to move large and heavy material.
Scenic Views Restored
Prior to the pier’s reconstruction, the waterfront was unusable and inaccessible to businesses and residents. Marine views of Manhattan were obstructed by the rundown pier. Reconstruction has brought a welcoming, safe, and accessible waterfront viewing area and park to the neighborhood. The pier features new railing, fencing, benches, and lamp posts, along with accents of crushed glass to add visual appeal to the concrete deck.