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ENR MidAtlantic Names Cianbro’s Rec Pier Project “Best Specialty Construction”

ENR MidAtlantic Names Cianbro’s Rec Pier Project “Best Specialty Construction”

On November 7th, a team from Cianbro joined nearly 300 other construction professionals from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia for the annual Best Regional Project awards. Cianbro was on hand at the event in Baltimore to receive the Best Specialty Construction award for the Recreation Pier at The Wharf.

After a year of effort, Cianbro’s work on the iconic recreation pier on Washington D.C.’s waterfront wrapped up in the fall of 2017 – on time and on budget. The unique structure is part of the ongoing revitalization effort known as “The Wharf,” and required a Cianbro pile driving regimen earlier in 2017 which set the foundation for a pier that showcases curvature. Once the 98 pile, 35 precast caps, and 92 panels were in place, the Cianbro team then tackled the task of completing the architectural features on board the pier.

The wood decking of the pier is Kebony, and it was curved into graceful shapes by Cianbro, despite conventional wisdom which had proclaimed that the specialty wood was incapable of being curved.

“We actually had the North American representative for Kebony come out to the jobsite and see the work that our crew had done here, and he was amazed at how we were able to curve the wood, and the workmanship that was put into this pier,” said Senior Project Engineer Mack Susi. “So, we had a sloped section that was curved. We have a lot of changes of elevation for the decking. And then we have a belvedere at the end, where the Kebony is curved along the fascia as well as up top by the fire feature. It’s a really unique instance where you come up from a slope to a flat section, and that interface was really seamless on the pier. The crew and team members did a great job at making that work.”

Kebony was chosen for the project because of its durability in the face of harsh weather. The expectation is that it will last longer and be a low-maintenance product for the owner for years to come.

Additional highlights include a custom steel shade structure constructed of two-inch diameter piping by Cianbro’s Georgetown fabrication team, an ornamental guardrail with stainless steel mesh infill panels and an elliptical Sapele top rail, Kebony benches, elliptical swings, floating wetlands, and a custom built 600,000 BTU natural gas stainless steel fire feature located on the belvedere at the end of the pier.

Cianbro completed the Recreation Pier in 41,861 work hours and experienced ZERO lost time injuries, which is a direct reflection of Cianbro’s journey to Beyond Zero; the company’s commitment not only to have zero injuries, but to ensure every team member goes home in better condition than when they arrived.  

The pier is mainly for public use. In other words, there won’t be any private boaters coming over and using it, like at all the other piers at The Wharf. The Rec Pier is used mainly for kayaks and paddle boards, and by people who want to enjoy the scenery, as well as the swings and the fire feature that Cianbro built on the pier’s deck. A jitney boat takes the public from the Rec Pier to nearby destinations like a golf course, a pool, and tennis courts. The shuttle is free to the public. 

“This is one of the projects that really makes you proud to work for a company like Cianbro,” said Senior Project Manager Gabe Sloane. “It really showcases the level of craft workmanship that we have with our team – everything from the carpenters and the pile drivers to the guys in the fabrication shop with Cianbro Fabrication & Coating – you get a little bit of ‘everything Cianbro’ on this job. And it really is impressive to walk the pier and be so close to the water and see the product at the end. Anybody that looks at this project is going to see what Cianbro can do. Tight schedules, difficult projects, it doesn’t matter … we’re always up to the challenge. And I think people are going to see pictures of this pier and say, “Who built that? We need to call those guys to do the next job of ours.”

According to ENR MidAtlantic, judges commented that “The pier is a great gift to the public” and has a “fluid and organic design.” Another judge remarked that, “teamwork optimized the design and schedule.”

The wharf as a whole is a two-phase project. Phase Two began after a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicated all of the work completed in Phase One. Phase Two is underway further to the southeast along the waterfront with an additional three years’ worth of improvements planned. 

Owner: Wharf District Master Development LLC
Lead Design Firm: Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd.
General Contractor: Cianbro
Building Architect: Perkins Eastman DC
Marine Engineer: Moffatt & Nichol
Subcontractors: Bellingham Marine (Floating Dock); Biohabitats (Floating Wetlands); Colombo Construction Corp. (Fire Sculpture); GEI Consultants (Geotechnical Engineer); Genesis Steel Service (Rebar Installer); J.F. Brinker & Sons Inc. (Pier Kiosk); K&B Plumbing (Mechanical Work) 

Photo (L to R) Mack Susi-Cianbro, Bruce Hughes-Cianbro, Ethan Herman-Cianbro, Miguel Correa-Moffatt & Nichol, Michael Bruce-PN Hoffman, Paul Landers-GEI, Gabe Sloane-Cianbro, Patrick Graney-Moffatt & Nichol

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