New $17 Million Wharf Lets Big Cargo Ships Dock at Redwood City

Construction began in 2012 on the modernized wharf, which replaces a 60-year-old wooden wharf built in the World War II era.

By Bay City News Service:

Officials in Redwood City Wednesday snipped a thick, red ribbon signifying the completion of the Port of Redwood City's $17 million modernized wharf, the first wharf built in the Bay Area to accommodate projected rising sea levels.

 The modernized wharf meets the latest seismic and sea level design standards and will allow the Port to welcome larger cargo ships, officials said.

 Construction began in 2012 on the wharf, which replaces a 60-year-old wooden wharf built in the World War II era, according to Port Chair Lorianna Kastrop. Located on the northern end of the Redwood Harbor Ship Channel, the concrete structure is situated between a Cemex cement marine terminal and Sims Metals scrap iron terminal.

 Kastrop said she was happy to say that the wharf, which will service port customers for the next 50 years or more, "creates a legacy for our future."

 The wharf will allow the Port to dock dry bulk ships known as Panamax ships, which are currently the largest ships able to pass through the Panama Canal, Kastrop said. From the deck on the new wharf, mobile cranes and large hoppers will be able to load and unload cargo and use the 30-foot-wide concrete ramps to transport the goods to the shore.

 Funded by a $10 million 2012 Port Revenue Bond and port capital project reserves, the new wharf boasts a 950-foot long sea wall that was specifically designed to deal with predicted rising sea levels due to climate change.

 The project design team, which considered sea level rise estimates from the California Climate Action Team and modeled local conditions to allow for an expected 100-year storm surge, designed the wharf two feet higher than most existing waterfront structures in the bay, according to Port Director Michael Giari, who emceed Wednesday's dedication.

 The wharf will allow for a major increase in the import of aggregates used in construction to the Peninsula and the Silicon Valley, which currently hold five of the state's largest construction projects, including Levi Stadium, the new Facebook campus, the San Mateo County Jail and Stanford Hospital, Kastrop said.

 At a morning dedication that brought together port and city officials, as well as project engineers, attorneys and land use experts, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) called the project "critical to the construction that is happening around us in the Silicon Valley."

 Greg Greenway, executive director of the Seaport Industries Association, a group that represents port users and companies in the port area, said the wharf produces "a center of mass transit for goods," taking trucks off the highways. He called the new wharf "an investment in the infrastructure that is vital to the economy and the environment."

 Additional projects planned at the site include dredging to deepen the channel from 30 to 35 feet to allow for bigger ships. About $8 million has been secured from the federal government for the channel-deepening project, according to Speier.

 Project improvements also call for a new 2,100 square-foot longshoreman's building, upgraded water ad electrical utilities, seismic monitoring, security fencing and gates, lighting and parking, according to port officials.

 The activity at the port signifies to Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee that the economy is in full recovery mode, he said. He added, "One of the best kept secrets here is at the port of Redwood City."

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