February 13, 2019
Wanted to give a Wednesday afternoon construction update on where our project, Hammett’s Wharf in Newport, RI stands…We have the beginnings of our very first big-ass footing, woohoo! And that concrete tube you see running alongside of the footing just happens to be the main sewer line for all of downtown Newport.
The shoring you see is installed to keep that sewer line from moving and cracking while work is ongoing nearby.
The building footings are not the first piece of structure to be installed on the site. As you can see from the picture above, the site is kind of a swamp and needs a lot of underlying support. What’s hidden below already is a whole network of geo piers within the building footprint (260 total).
This process went so fast we didn’t even get to see it! This is a picture of what it looked like a day after boring all of these piers:
This is the machine that does the work. It vibrates as it pushes the earth down with a ton of pressure, effectively creating compressed earth all around and below the pier. Once it hits the bottom elevation it releases concrete as it comes back up out of the ground, leaving behind a hidden pier and no earth removal:
And lastly, the site soil itself turns out to be filled with old, wet, native timbers that infilled the shore line to help create the wharf (ironically for a lumber yard back in the early 1900s) – apparently very typical of downtown Newport waterfront properties. It has been told that many of the waterfront residential properties in the Point Neighborhood down the street sunk a barge in their backyard and piled soil and grass on top! Voila! American ingenuity at its finest.