New York Wheel workers in pedestal.
New York Wheel workers in pedestal.

As an example of key pieces being exported by water for a high visibility project in North America, it certainly qualifies. In this particular case, the pieces were Canadian-manufactured. The main transportation service provider was McKeil Marine, a leading tug-and-barge operator based in Hamilton, on Lake Ontario. And the project is the giant New York Wheel under construction on Staten Island.
Scheduled for completion in 2018, the New York Wheel will surpass the London Eye ferris wheel in height at 630 feet and is expected to attract more than three million visitors a year. Offering a 38-minute ride in its 36 capsules, it will accommodate up to 1,440 people at a time. The $590 million project is part of a $1.2 billion redevelopment of Staten Island’s North Shore.

Early last November, four 100-ton pedestals measuring 18 feet in diameter were transported to New York harbor by two sets of barges over a period of eight days, departing from the Port of Montreal. The pedestals set the stage for the erection of the Wheel’s 275-ft legs.

To take delivery of the pedestals and other major components shipped by such global heavy lift carriers as Mammoet during the construction process, a temporary dock was built by Reicon Group, a marine and heavy construction company located in the West Brighton section of Staten Island.

The barges first transited through the Erie Canal before embarking on a 315-mile journey down the Hudson River.

“The biggest challenge involved timing,” recalled Steven Fletcher, president of McKeil Marine.

“We had to get the pieces through the Erie Canal before it closed, and it closes early,” Fletcher told the American Journal of Transportation. “In the end, we just met the deadline.”

The pedestals were manufactured by the ADF Group at Terrebonne near Montreal, an industry leader well known for supplying clean fabricated steel for complex projects around the world. In recent years, these have included the One World Trade Center and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

At a recent tour of the site, New York Wheel CEO Rich Marin noted:”The arrival of the Wheel’s pedestals is important for several reasons. These are the first major parts of the wheel to arrive at our site and soon we will begin to see the rise of the wheel along New York harbor. In addition, this is the first use of our temporary dock, which we are proud to say was done with local Staten Island firm Reicon.”

For his part, Reicon president Jeff Wollman said that following completion of the Wheel, his company will deploy its heavy construction expertise to dismantle and recycle all materials incorporated into the temporary dock.