In Dec. 2019, the Navy began construction on a project to build a replacement ammunition pier, associated waterfront facilities, causeway, and public boating channel inside Anaheim Bay. The project is scheduled to take at least five years to complete.
SEAL BEACH— On Nov. 30, the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach announced a pile-driving campaign set to begin on Dec. 1 as part of the Navy’s project to replace the ammunition pier at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station.
Over 900 concrete piles will be driven into positions that will support the new pier structure in the center of the bay throughout the campaign. Work is scheduled to occur during the weekday, daylight hours only, although this schedule may occasionally change depending on weather, equipment availability, and other variables.
Although it was initially assumed that pile driving would take up to a year to complete, results from a September test pile driving campaign indicated most of the work may be accomplished as soon as early summer of 2022.
“The project is being built in phases, with several parts already complete,” said Gregg Smith, the Public Affairs Officer for the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach, in an email from Dec. 13. “A new civilian boating channel was opened to the public in January of this year, and a causeway was built across the location of the old boating channel. These improvements greatly improved safety and security by moving public boaters much further away from Navy ammunition loading operations. The new boat channel still has some final steps needed, including the placement of additional rock armoring and permanent aids to navigation. We have also completed a big inshore dredging effort to enlarge the bay’s ship turning basin.”
This is the current project schedule:
- Mobilize: Scheduled Dec. 2019; Completed
- Rock removal: Scheduled Dec. 2019- Summer 2020; Completed.
- Causeway Creation: Scheduled Winter 2020- Summer 2022; Underway.
- North Mole Partial Removal: Scheduled Spring 2020 – Fall 2020; Completed.
- New Civilian Boat Channel: Scheduled Spring 2020 – Winter 2021; Completed.
- Inner Harbor Dredging: Scheduled Spring 2020 – Fall 2021; Completed.
- New Truck Turnaround Construction: Scheduled Spring 2021 – Summer 2022; Underway.
- New Pier Construction: Scheduled Fall 2021 – End 2024; Underway.
- New Inner Breakwater Construction: Scheduled Fall 2021 – Summer 2022; Planned.
“Currently, we are working on the construction of the new ammunition pier and truck turnaround area in the center of the bay,” said Smith. “Once the project is complete by the end of 2024 and the new pier is operational, we will be able to simultaneously load two medium sized ships such as destroyers, or one much larger ship such as a general-purpose amphibious assault ship.”
An up-to-date aerial video of the projects construction is available Navy’s website. The video is updated quarterly. All images are simulated and meant to show general progress only. Areas for equipment laydown, temporary storage of rock or earth, and dune creation are not shown. The last slide of the video depicts an aerial view of the project upon completion.
Anaheim Bay is an extensive harbor and wetland complex in Seal Beach. The U.S. Navy broke ground in 2020 on the first phase of a $154 million construction project to reconfigure Anaheim Bay and replace a World War II-era ammunition pier at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. The outlined plans for the pier and causeway will accommodate 844-foot-long amphibious assault ships or service two guided-missile destroyers for the first time.
“The station’s ammunition loading wharf was originally built in 1944 and rebuilt in 1953,” said Smith. “This existing wharf is over 65 years old, past its design life, and was constructed prior to the introduction of modern earthquake codes. The condition and configuration of the existing wharf and turning basin limits the size and number of ships that can be loaded and unloaded with ammunition at the same time. The waterfront configuration also presented safety and security concerns due to the proximity of Navy munitions operations to civilian small boat traffic going through the bay to and from Huntington Harbour.”
The next closest Naval Weapons Station is in Kitsap Peninsula, in Washington state, over 1,000 miles from the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s hub in San Diego. The new ammunition pier will increase Seal Beach’s strategic relevance for the Navy.
According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, “The reconfiguring of Anaheim Bay is a gargantuan endeavor. Navy officials expect contractor Manson/Connolly Seal Beach JV to move or dredge 870,000 tons of rock and 1.15 million cubic yards of sand before phase two is completed in 2024. About 370 contract workers will be employed between both phases of the project,” said Smith in the article.