By Chris Cooney
Bay City News Service
A $13.9 million project to revamp the Port of Redwood City is set to begin at the end of August, a port official said Monday.
Manager of operations Don Snaman said the Wharves 1 & 2 Modernization Project will create hundreds of feet of new concrete docking space for ships and barges that will allow for safer, more efficient use of the port's facilities.
"We're removing the old, unsafe, dilapidated dock that was originally built in the late 1930s and replacing it with a new concrete structure," Snaman said.
The Port of Redwood City -- the southernmost deepwater port on San Francisco Bay -- saw the number of vessels making calls nearly double during the last fiscal year compared to the year before.
Snaman said that 48 ships and 26 barges called at the port last year, a significant increase from the 36 ships and 11 barges that came in the year before.
The increase is due in large part to a rise in Bay Area construction activity, according to port executive director Mike Giari. Sand, gravel and other construction materials that move through the port saw a 51 percent increase in volume in fiscal year 2011-2012.
The wharves modernization project will allow the port to increase its operating capacity even further, Snaman said.
The first phase of the project involves demolishing existing wharves, pilings and warehouses. The second phase will see the construction of the new concrete wharf, which will be 426 feet long and 58 feet wide, with 30-foot wide access ramps to shore.
The improvement project also includes upgrades to the port's public access areas, including the marina and fishing pier.
The major addition will be a new 400-foot waterfront promenade running parallel to the shoreline, with new handicap access and parking. The promenade will feature a new lawn, landscaping and a raised seating area with views of the Bay.
The modernization project is currently in its design phase, with demolition work scheduled to begin in August or September, Snaman said.
Construction is expected to finish by the end of 2013.