BPDA to Partially Close Pier 4 at the Navy Yard for 2022

In a Boston Planning and Development Agency advisory letter to Charlestown residents, BPDA Communication Director Bonnie McGilpin said the BPDA will temporarily partially close Pier 4 of the Charlestown Navy Yard for 2022 due to identified structural deficiencies.

The closure will displace the neighborhood’s Courageous Sailing program for the summer.

“As part of the BPDA’s ongoing proactive capital maintenance and repair program, Pier 4 was recently subject to an inspection and assessment by the Waterfront Structures Division of GEI Consultants,” wrote McGilpin. “This inspection is part of a multi-million dollar BPDA project to inspect and improve the waterfront infrastructure near Shipyard Park, Pier 4, Dry Dock 2 and the surrounding area in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

McGilpin said recent above and below water inspections of the Pier 4 facility have resulted in findings that warrant a partial closure of the pier pending immediate repairs.

“At issue is the identification of serious corrosion of the steel pipe piles supporting the pier,” she wrote. “With the corrosion of the steel, all that remains supporting the pier is the unreinforced concrete infill inside the steel pipe pile.  This condition results in no lateral capacity of the pier, putting it at risk for structural failure and sideways collapse.”

As a result of these findings, GEI has recommended prohibiting the mooring and berthing of vessels, as well as prohibiting loads from vehicles and cranes, restricting access to the pier for pedestrian uses only.

McGilpin said the BPDA is pursuing emergency repairs, estimated at $2 million, which would install reinforced concrete jackets to 60 of the pier’s batter piles that will restore lateral stability.  “The engineering design of this work is already underway, and construction is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2022,” she wrote. “With the emergency repairs complete, the BPDA will implement additional repairs to address less urgent deficiencies to ensure the longevity of the structure.  This work would likely be completed in 2023.”

McGilpin said as a result of the temporary closure, a significant portion of the operations of Courageous Sailing will likely be displaced from the pier. 

“The BPDA is working closely with Courageous Sailing to identify alternative locations and accommodations in an effort to continue their operation through the 2022 season,” said McGilpin. “The BPDA anticipates that Courageous will be able to fully return to Pier 4 for the 2023 season.”

McGilpin added that the nearby berthing of the MBTA ferry service between Long Wharf and Pier 4 will not be impacted by these findings, as the ferry utilizes a floating dock supported by piles that are structurally independent of pier 4.

“Shipyard Park and Pier 4 are incredibly important public open space amenities and the BPDA is committed to preserving and enhancing these public parks in perpetuity,” she wrote. “While less urgent, the BPDA anticipates running a project within the next year to provide a similar comprehensive engineering assessment of Pier 5, which has been permanently closed to public access due to similar corrosion.  This project is intended to yield construction designs and budgets for Pier 5’s reuse and/or demolition.”

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