When the first section was nearly drained, chemicals were then used to band together the added sediment, causing it to fall directly to the bottom of the basin and preventing it from being discharged into the river.
Moving mud and rock
Pumping water from the first half of the marina took roughly five days. Once it was completed, Gulf Shores brought in its two John Deere 650 dozers, as well as a larger rented New Holland dozer, to push the thick layer of mud to the sides, where it was scooped out with excavators.
"In some spots, the mud was 3 ft. deep," Raiser says. "We probably hauled out 3,000 yds. of muck that had built up over the past 50 years."
It was necessary to remove the mud in order to get at the underlying surface, which consists of a layer of rock. "They wanted to remove some of this rock to form a deeper channel so they could sell the slips they're going to build for more money for bigger boats," Raiser explains.
Once the mud was removed from the first half of the marina, the second Portadam was installed at its mouth and the water pumped out. This allowed the first Portadam to be removed. "We had the whole marina exposed, which is about 2.2 acres," says Raiser.
The next step required removing 2 to 2.5 ft. of rock across the marina floor. "We had talked about hammering the rock out, but the Corps of Engineers permitting stated that if we were to undercut below a certain depth, we would have to fill back in with sand," says Raiser.
After doing feasibility studies and assessing the cost, Gulf Shores quickly realized it wasn't economical to use hammers. "When you cut the rock out, you usually have to cut it down almost to the bottom of the rock," Raiser explains. "In some spots, it was 5 to 6 ft. thick. So we would have had to fill 3 to 4 ft. of sand back in. That's why we went with the milling setup just to cut the top 2 ft. off."
The subcontractor Gulf Shores hired to complete the work came out and successfully tested the equipment to be used. But a problem with one of the original permits secured by the environmental engineers delayed rock removal by several months.
"Unfortunately, the contractor we had hired had another commitment that he couldn't wait for the permits," says Raiser. "So when the permits finally came, we had to look for another source."
Asphalt Mining Services, Davey, FL, was brought in to complete the milling process using a Roadtec RX-50 cold planer. "They strip out about 2 to 3 in. of the rock at a time," says Raiser. "As they cut the rock, we go behind them with the front end loaders and dozers and scrape it up and then bucket it out."
The rock removal process took around two weeks to complete. As the rock was being removed, Gulf Shores filled in all the "nooks and crannies" and leveled off the area. The holding tank was then disassembled — a process that takes as much as four days — and the dam was removed.
Removal of the dam took about three days. "We actually have to dive down and pull the pins — the feet that hold the framework up are pinned right in the solid rock," says Raiser. After the pins are removed, a crane is brought in to lift the framework out piece by piece. "Then we bundle it up again and Portadam hauls it off to the next job," Raiser adds.
Phase 1 of the resort project was completed in the Fall of 2005. Phase 2 will involve widening the river channel slightly. Given its history with the developers, as well as its successful work on the marina project, Gulf Shores anticipated being a solid contender for this portion of the project, as well.