24 January 2015

Scrapping of Kalakala expected to wrap up next week:

The demolition company tearing apart the Kalakala said Friday that, if all goes according to plan, the old ferryboat will be cut to pieces and delivered to a metal salvage yard in about a week.

Crews from Rhine Demolition Inc. are using three long-reach excavators equipped with hydraulic shears to cut the ferry to pieces inside the Concrete Technology graving yard on Tacoma’s Blair Waterway.

The Kalakala will be cut into pieces small enough to fit inside trucks hauling 48-yard debris trailers with 8-foot sides, said Mike Lano Sr., the Rhine manager in charge of structural demolition.

The trucks will carry the salvaged steel 4.5 miles along Port of Tacoma Road and state Route 509 to Schnitzer Steel Industries on the Hylebos Waterway, Lano said.

“I think we’ll be all cleaned up and gone in two weeks,” Lano said Friday. “That includes demolishing the Kalakala and cleaning the site.”

Lano is in charge of the demolition, but his son, Mike Lano Jr., also a Rhine employee, is in charge of the overall project.

The elder Lano said the original plan was to push the ferry onto its side before beginning demolition, but the boat refused to comply. Instead, he said, demolition will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 24) with the boat canted onto its side.

“We really don’t care that much,” he said. “Once you start cutting, it doesn’t make much difference.”

The Kalakala’s distinctive superstructure, which has been compared to a toaster and an Airstream trailer, will be removed first, working from stern to bow.

“Once we get all the superstructure off, we’ll start moving back on the hull,” he said.

The Concrete Technology graving dock is one of the only places in Puget Sound equipped for ship demolition. Strict environmental protocols are being followed to prevent pollution from the ferry from escaping into Puget Sound, Lano said.

Before the Kalakala was floated into the graving dock Thursday morning, the concrete floor of the facility was covered with heavy plastic and all the seams taped with special tape.

The plastic was covered with a layer of filter fabric and then topped with inch-thick steel plates, each 8 feet by 20 feet.

Rainwater that falls during the project will be collected in a sealed pond at one end of the site, Lano said. The water will be periodically pumped into 21,000 gallon tanks hauled to the job site, he said, and then tested for contaminants.

If the water is clean enough, he said, it will be discharged into the sewer system. If not, it will be hauled to a toxic waste site.

Lead paint chips and other solid contaminants will be collected, placed in steel drums and then hauled to an appropriate waste site, Lano said.

Rhine Demolition Inc. officials say they’ve received hundreds of inquiries from people interested in getting their hands on pieces of the Kalakala as mementos.

Mike Lano Sr., who’s running the demolition crew, said Friday the company will do what it can to save choice bits. The job and the demolition schedule will come first, though, he said, and he’s has made only a few promises.

The distinctive rounded pilot house on top of the vessel has been spoken for, he said, and that will be removed separately and set aside.

The arched windows that run along both sides of the superstructure are made of brass, he said, and his crew will cut at least some of those out with torches and saved.

“The propeller is long gone,” Lano said, “but we’ll probably save the rudder for posterity.

“We’re thinking that we like to keep a good image with the public, so if some museum or the Port of Tacoma or somebody is interested, we’ll be happy to work something out with them.”

Lano said he didn’t think the salvage requests would slow the overall process much.

“We have to take it apart anyway,” he said. “But if it gets to be too much work, we’ll just say, ‘To heck with it.’ ”

Source: the news tribune. 23 January 2015

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