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North Tonawanda, NY Canal Project

Challenge: An existing site along the Erie Canal was ideal for a park and marine access. The subsurface conditions were, however, fraught with problems:  old pilings and debris fill consisting of boulders, broken concrete and waste from various local industries. Removing the debris and waste would be costly. Construction of a conventional concrete retaining wall would also be cost prohibitive based on the need for pile support and a cofferdam for working in the dry.

Solutions: Multiple schemes were developed with the city engineer with the goal of providing the aesthetic elements of the old canal stone walls and avoiding the costs of a conventional build. A new technique was devised that incorporated steel sheet piling faced with a precast block wall hung off the back edge of the sheet piling. The uniqueness of the design earned the designer a US patent.

Results: The project proceeded on schedule and within budget, costing about one third of the conventional retaining wall scheme. Our efforts also earned us the award of yet another segment of the City’s waterfront development.