The demolition company tearing apart the Kalakala said Friday that, if all goes according to plan, the old ferryboat will be cut to pieces and delivered to a metal salvage yard in about a week.
Crews from Rhine Demolition Inc. are using three long-reach excavators equipped with hydraulic shears to cut the ferry to pieces inside the Concrete Technology graving yard on Tacoma’s Blair Waterway.
The Kalakala will be cut into pieces small enough to fit inside trucks hauling 48-yard debris trailers with 8-foot sides, said Mike Lano Sr., the Rhine manager in charge of structural demolition.
The trucks will carry the salvaged steel 4.5 miles along Port of Tacoma Road and state Route 509 to Schnitzer Steel Industries on the Hylebos Waterway, Lano said.
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“I think we’ll be all cleaned up and gone in two weeks,” Lano said Friday. “That includes demolishing the Kalakala and cleaning the site.”
Lano is in charge of the demolition, but his son, Mike Lano Jr., also a Rhine employee, is in charge of the overall project.
The elder Lano said the original plan was to push the ferry onto its side before beginning demolition, but the boat refused to comply. Instead, he said, demolition will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 24) with the boat canted onto its side.
“We really don’t care that much,” he said. “Once you start cutting, it doesn’t make much difference.”
The Kalakala’s distinctive superstructure, which has been compared to a toaster and an Airstream trailer, will be removed first, working from stern to bow.
“Once we get all the superstructure off, we’ll start moving back on the hull,” he said.
The Concrete Technology graving dock is one of the only places in Puget Sound equipped for ship demolition. Strict environmental protocols are being followed to prevent pollution from the ferry from escaping into Puget Sound, Lano said.
Before the Kalakala was floated into the graving dock Thursday morning, the concrete floor of the facility was covered with heavy plastic and all the seams taped with special tape.
The plastic was covered with a layer of filter fabric and then topped with inch-thick steel plates, each 8 feet by 20 feet.
Rainwater that falls during the project will be collected in a sealed pond at one end of the site, Lano said. The water will be periodically pumped into 21,000 gallon tanks hauled to the job site, he said, and then tested for contaminants.
If the water is clean enough, he said, it will be discharged into the sewer system. If not, it will be hauled to a toxic waste site.
Lead paint chips and other solid contaminants will be collected, placed in steel drums and then hauled to an appropriate waste site, Lano said.