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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command’s Officer in Charge of Construction Florence (OICC Florence) completed a five bridge project for Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point on Jan. 18.
The bridges, built in the 1950’s, were damaged when Hurricane Florence ravaged North Carolina, causing significant devastation to buildings and infrastructure across MCAS Cherry Point, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune, and MCAS New River. Each bridge in the $2.7 million project presented a unique logistical challenge requiring thorough planning to ensure minimal disruption to the Marines and Sailors working at MCAS Cherry Point and at Range BT 11 on Piney Island.
Project coordination with MCAS Cherry Point Range Control was extensive for three of the bridges, because of the wide variety of personnel, equipment, and aircraft using the area for training events. In addition, much of the project material had to be delivered to the island on a barge, and daily synchronization had to be made for transporting the crews to the worksites.
“They had regularly scheduled trips from the main land to the island, but then they also had special trips they had to make for the folks to come back and forth,” said Matthew O’Brien, AIA, CSI, LEED, Supervisory Construction Manager, Resident Officer In Charge of Construction (ROICC), Cherry Point. “We couldn’t hog dock space, so we had to coordinate all that.”
O’Brien credits the personal relationships built by his Engineering Technicians, William Church and David Canupp, with Range Operations Center personnel for the smooth daily operations associated with refurbishing the bridges.
On MCAS Cherry Point, Bridge 4341 provided a great opportunity for value engineering due to the experience provided by the designer of record, Frank Burns, PE.
“There was this huge transition piece that needed to be stripped, sand blasted, primed and painted,” said O’Brien. “The better idea was to pour the foundation and make a concrete ramp. No cost, no change.”
The change was one of only three required during the project with O’Brien acknowledging Burns’ efficiency from the very start of the job.
“He did a very a good job designing the construction documents and writing the specifications,” added O’Brien. “There were very few issues and very few RFI’s [requests for information].That’s the sign of a tight set of plans.”
The entire task had little overlap for the contractor, meaning when one bridge would complete, the next one started, with the exception of Bridge 4062 which involved overnight work. Crews reduced traffic to one lane in order to perform work in the travel lanes and on the guardrails, as it is one of the main thoroughfares on the base and everyone wanted to maintain a smaller footprint.
“The team did a good job assessing safety risks on the project; there were a couple activities that were high risk and required some extra attention,” added LDCR David Dreyer, PE, ROICC Cherry Point , OICC Florence. “The repairs made to the underside of Slocum Bridge (Bridge 4062) required the contractor to utilize a floating barge on Slocum Creek to perform the work.”
Constant and consistent communication allowed all members to identify any risks to the project that could escalate into an issue. O’Brien employed risk identification in the weekly quality control meeting where they discussed the three week look ahead. The team also hosted partnering sessions where updates were provided to ROICC, Cherry Point, the contractor and Marine Corps, and risks to the project completion timeline were discussed.
O’Brien believed the contractor and ROICC shared the vision and mission of this project.
The bridges are part of OICC Florence’s mission to provide engineering, construction, and acquisition services supporting the Marine Corps’ recovery from the storm and deployment of the Joint Strike Fighter, re-establishing the readiness of expeditionary forces for Marine Corps Installation East and II Marine Expeditionary Force.
The $3.6 billion in repairs and renovations the command is responsible for are scheduled for completion in 2026.
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