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Tsunami dock headed to Sherwood grinder

Dock remains could become pavement on local roads.


The Japanese dock that washed ashore at the Oregon Coast will be taken to Sherwood to be ground into asphalt. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.The tsunami-ravaged Japanese dock that washed up on Oregon's shore near Newport a couple months ago is about to take a little farther trip inland.

Dismantled remains of the 66-foot-long dock that washed ashore June 5 are headed for a rural Sherwood firm, where they will be crushed into material that could be used to repave local roads.

Axis Crane will take pieces of the salvaged dock that’s being dismantled this week in Newport.

Eric Muller, director of sales and marketing for Ballard Diving & Salvage of Seattle, says cutting of the Japanese dock into sections begins this week, with the majority of the work completed by Thursday.

George Bezates, left, feeds a plastic pipe that will house the cutting cable beneath the dock on Monday. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department“The official plan for the cut now consist(s) of four cuts that will result in five pieces,” said Muller.

Newport’s mayor has requested that a section of the dock (the portion containing the rollers that weighs about 20,000 pounds) be kept as a permanent memorial, he said.

In the recycling yard

The concrete dock is part of a larger structure from Misawa, Japan, which was ripped free during a devastating March 11, 2011, tsunami. It washed up at Agate Beach in early June and has since become a tourist attraction.

On Tuesday, work crews completed core drilling boring holes into the concrete structure to slip “diamond wire” through them. Travis Wilt, senior vice president for Axis Crane, said American Concrete Co. will use the wire cable — which is similar to a large band saw — to cut the dock.

From there, Axis Crane will use a100-ton crane with a 90-foot boom to lift pieces onto a truck and transported to the Sherwood-area company, 11277 S.W. Clay St., near Southwest Grahams Ferry Road.

The dock pieces will go through a rock crusher to break them down to 1-foot-long chunks, with a final crushing process that will reduce the concrete into pieces three-quarters-of-an-inch or smaller to a point that “you’ll never know it’s part of the tsunami dock,” said Wilt.

“It may end up in our (recycling) yard,” Wilt says.

Amazing interest

Axis Crane made the bid for the project based on the architectural drawings provided by creators of Japanese dock.

Although the onslaught of interest worldwide has made the story of the dock’s arrival via the tides more compelling, Wilt says the actual process of lifting and transporting the pieces is “kind of boring.”

Ballard Diving & Salvage’s Muller says interest in the dock has been “nothing short of amazing,” noting that he has received calls from major national television networks, and a Japanese film crew plans to film a documentary on the structure’s removal.

By Friday, the dock could be nothing but a memory, with final cleanup operations in full swing, Muller says.



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