Urban served as the on-call engineering design consultant and construction manager for the South Cove Jetty’s decking replacement and bracing restoration.
On any given morning in Battery Park in Manhattan, residents and tourists stop at the South Cove Jetty to take in views of the Hudson River. The serene connection of this work of art with the waterfront – as created by designer Mary Miss – has endured for all visitors to enjoy. After 30 years though, the timber structure was ready for a deck replacement and structural rehabilitation. The main direction the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) gave to Urban Engineers for this project was to protect the artistic expression of the pedestrian bridge and jetty. After an initial investigation, Urban discovered additional deterioration. The firm focused on a repair for the piles, braces, and decking that would maintain the artist’s original work, while improving the jetty’s structural integrity.
While trying to conserve the visual of the artist’s original structure, Urban employed a few creative methods of design. The majority of the supporting piles were stable. However, many had begun to show signs of deterioration in the tidal zone. Urban designed a splice repair for the damaged piles. A multilayer layer wrap system was recommended to protect all the piles from further deterioration.
In an effort to begin construction early and limit the closure of the jetty, BPCA decided against procuring a construction manager. Urban was able to step in to support BPCA with construction management activities throughout the project in addition to performing standard construction administration. The firm was willing to provide multidiscipline solutions as the project progressed, continuing to be nimble and center service on the needs of the BPCA and one of their signature destination spots.
A limitation of this project was the availability of existing plans and the methods of timber construction originally used. Part of the design had to be developed during construction as different features were discovered. The contractor’s crews required training to employ wood construction techniques not often encountered in current public projects.
Upgrading aging infrastructure is often considered a challenge across the industry. Many public art installations also require renovations as the decades pass. By reviewing this project, others can better understand the challenges and ultimate successes that come from restoring artistic structures, especially at marine locations. The completion of the South Cove Jetty repairs has refreshed the structure and lead to enhanced public safety. It also has allowed for the jetty to continue to be a must-visit destination for residents and tourists alike.