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The latest news about one of New York City’s best waterfront parks.

Photo by Alex MacLean
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Construction Update: Pier 3 Connectors

Whether walking from the Picnic Peninsula to Pier 2’s sports courts, or reading a book atop the Granite Terrace, you can’t ignore lower Manhattan’s impressive skyline. In the foreground, you also won’t be able to miss the five acre slab of concrete just off of BBP’s shoreline. Amazingly, that slab will very soon be covered with thriving plant life and play areas.

Pier 3 is the final pier to be converted into parkland at BBP. Rehabilitation of Pier 3’s 2,000 wooden piles – essential to supporting the weight of new topography and human occupancy – was completed in 2015. The deck of the Pier was then cut away to complete the boating channel that runs from Pier 1 to the marina, creating a clear lane for kayakers to traverse the park. The next step is construction of connector bridges. These bridges, like the ones at Piers 2, will connect the Park’s uplands to Pier 3.

Like the piers, the connectors rest on piles that pierce not just the sand and mud at the bottom of the East River, but the bedrock below it. A two-step exacting process ensures precise placement of these massive 60-foot piles. The first step uses smaller piles to create a frame to help guide the larger ones into place. Without the frame, placing the piles accurately would be impossible. Can you imagine trying to line up a 60-foot pile dangling from a crane into its place within fractions of an inch? How about while the crane floats on a barge in a tidal strait?

When the final piles hit bedrock, they are secured into place by drilling an 8-foot shaft further into the bedrock and filling it with concrete. Each connector rests on eighteen piles.

Pile driving can be a long and arduous process, with bedrock depths changing drastically from one pile location to the next. It’s hard to predict what’s at the bottom of the East River, but it’s easy to predict that we’ll all love walking out to Pier 3.

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