Foss marina floats splash down

he first floats for the new marina in front of Albers Mill, the Museum of Glass and Thea’s Landing arrived Monday morning to land in the water. The floats will form the marina’s slips and landing platforms.

The new $4 million marina on the west side of the Thea Foss Waterway is a partnership between the City of Tacoma and the Foss Waterway Development Authority. The city plans to use the marina to hold boats temporarily displaced by environmental cleanup of the waterway. When the Superfund cleanup is complete in late 2005 or early 2006, the development authority will oversee management of the public marina.

As a permanent enhancement to the waterway, it will provide more than 35 slips for visiting boaters as well as longer-term moorage for about 30 more recreational boats.

The first of the marina’s floats arrived June 1 by truck from Shoreside Marinas in Bellingham. Manson Construction, the city’s main contractor for the cleanup, plans to place the concrete floats, weighing up to 22 tons each, into the water with a 150-ton crane parked at the southwestern corner of the waterway.

What prevents the concrete floats from sinking straight to the bottom of the waterway? The float cores are made of marine-grade expanded polystyrene-buoyant foam that floats, even with its thick, heavy coating of steel bars, mesh and concrete.

With an estimated four to six truckloads of floats arriving each day, contractors expect to place about 80 floats in the water during the next month or so.

The floats are slated to be stored in another part of the waterway until contractors drive new piling to anchor them in place.

Pile driving is scheduled to begin July 15, near the end of the annual fish migration season.