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Fugro Engineering Lands 3rd Job at Port of L.A.


Ventura engineering firm Fugro West Inc. has a fairly impressive resume.

The company has provided environmental consulting advice to the U.S. Postal Service, conducted a seismic study for the city of Simi Valley and prepared an environmental impact report for the Ahmanson Ranch housing development.

But despite these and other sizable contracts, Fugro Vice President Thomas McNeilan said the company relies most heavily on the jobs it is hired to do along the coastal waters. Which is why company officials are so excited about their participation in the Pier 300/400 expansion at the Port of Los Angeles.

Fugro recently was awarded its third contract for work at the 7,500-acre port, a $2.6-million agreement to provide geotechnical services over about three years.

Fugro has been involved with the massive project, which port officials say is the largest dredging and landfill job in the country, since 1990.

The company previously was awarded a $3-million contract in the early phase of expansion to provide subsurface data that were used during the design of Pier 400 and for dredging and landfill permitting. The contract also included seismic investigation.

Fugro later received a $1-million contract to help design a landfill next to Pier 400.

"This is very major involvement," said McNeilan, manager of Fugro's Port of Los Angeles job. "We need large capital projects on the coast. Large port and harbor land reclamation projects are integral to the company."

Elsewhere along the coast, Fugro is conducting an environmental review for the proposed redevelopment of the Channel Islands Harbor. The company also is working with the Oxnard Harbor to study the 31-acre oceanfront parcel that formerly was home to the Naval Civil Engineering Lab.

"We're kind of proud that even though we're out here in the hinterlands, we're doing a big L.A. project," McNeilan said. "And we're still serving the local area."

The Port of L.A. project involves the creation of a 580-acre landfill on which port facilities will be built, along with the deepening of the port's main channel to allow entry of larger container vessels, which are becoming increasingly common.

Stage 1 of the project--about half of the new landfill, a three-mile transportation corridor to the landfill and a submerged shallow-water habitat--is nearing completion, with stage 2 to begin shortly. McNeilan said Fugro's latest contract encompasses both stages.

"First we investigate the stage 1 landfill to determine what materials are in the landfill, what their conditions are and what needs to be done to develop port facilities on the landfill," he said. "What is the condition of the new land? Is it soft? How will it withstand an earthquake?"

McNeilan said various uses of the land are being considered, including storage of liquid products, which might require the use of tanks, or dry products, for which the land might need to support a tall grain silo.

Fugro also will monitor the second stage of the landfill as it is being constructed, moving more stable material to areas of greater need and relocating lesser-quality material to areas where it will have less impact on future development. The company also will analyze the landfill after completion of the second stage of development.

In addition, Fugro's contract calls for the company to study soil samples in the port channel, which will be increased from a depth of 45 feet to 50 feet.

Dick Wittkop, chief harbor engineer for the Port of Los Angeles, said port officials have been impressed with Fugro's work since the early going.

"In a project such as dredging and landfilling, the most critical component, without a doubt, is the geotechnical work being done to determine what the materials are that you are dredging and what material will make up that landfill," Wittkop said. "Fugro has done an excellent job."

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