Along with the on-going demolition of the Alaska way viaduct, a Seattle landmark second only to the Space Needle, rises a new attraction on Pier 57- a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Pier 57 was originally 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 publics’ 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 here in the PNW, was chosen to drive the foundation piles of this soon-to-be “landmark” on the water ward side of the existing pier. With a total of 53- 36” x .5” wall and 30” x .625” wall pipe piles on deck, the Manson crew set out to drive these piles with the APE Super Kong.  What else would you want driving the piles for a 175-foot marine based Ferris wheel, right?

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 the Northwest is known for, the 150’ 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 spectators became diners.  Fair trade.

Today, 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, APE 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. More pictures and updates to come!

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