Removing tsunami dock from Oregon beach not a cinch

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by KGW Staff

KING5.com

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 9:51 AM

NEWPORT, Ore. -- After a day of slow going and setbacks, workers finally removed the first section of a Japanese dock that washed ashore near Newport.

Late Thursday, crews were finally able to cut the first of section off of the dock. They were planning to haul it away on a flat bed trailer but the chunk was too heavy for the truck.

The Seattle-based salvage team has run into a variety of challenges as it attempts to cut up and remove the dock.

Crews with Ballard Diving and Salvage say the biggest risk factor is the unknown. They’ve never cut through a 165-ton dock, and it's proving to be quite a challenge.

Crews have been working from sun-up to sun-down to try to cut the concrete and steel structure into four sections. Even during high tide, when the dock was surrounded by water, the work continued, just with life jackets.

More photos: Seeing Oregon's tsunami dock up close

Progress came to an unexpected halt Wednesday, when the cable on the crews' wire saw snapped.

When they finished their first cut, the section of the dock they were trying to remove wouldn’t budge, prompting workers to start a second cut Thursday. Even when they finally cut off the section, hauling it away proved challenging. 

"They haven't done a project like this before," said Jess Parks-Vincent, who was visiting the coast. "But when it comes to salvage, which one is normal? You never have a normal project."

Crews had originally planned to be done by Friday but hat deadline is looking less and less likely. Officials say they’ll release a new time frame on when they expect to have the work complete once the first piece of dock is removed.

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