Contributed by American Piledriving Equipment’s Chris Wang:

Along with the on-going demolition of the Alaska way viaduct, a new attraction rises on Pier 57 in Seattle – a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Pier 57 originally was built in 1902 as a rail-loading facility for a saw mill. Today, it houses a plethora of marine-oriented shops, restaurants, and even an antique carousel. Hal Griffith, owner of Pier 57, fears losing business due to the viaduct replacement, and hopes a new waterfront attraction will keep the public’s interest alive. With the loss of the Fun Forest at the Seattle Center, this will be the only Ferris wheel available in the city. Once completed, with 41 air-conditioned gondolas, it should prove to be quite an accommodating attraction to locals and tourists alike.

Manson Construction, a major player in the Pacific Northwest, was chosen to drive the foundation piles of this soon-to-be landmark on the existing pier. With a total of 53 36-inch-by-0.5-inch wall, and 30-inch-by-0.625-inch wall pipe piles on deck, the Manson crew set out to drive these piles with the APE Super Kong.

So far, the Manson crew has driven a dozen test piles. With some fine-tuning of the equipment to account for the infamous glacial till that the Northwest is known for, the 150-foot piles are down to grade. Some were driven only a couple of feet away from the Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar. Needless to say, some diners became spectators, and some spectators became diners – fair trade.

Now the Manson crew is running production piles. Most are on 4:1 fore and aft batters. To accommodate the tight driving schedule and the layout of the pile driving grid, American Piledriving Equipment and Manson teamed up to outfit the Super Kong with a custom vibro sled fit for Manson’s leader system, as well as a custom swing arm pile gate.