New York — The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC) selected the Maid of the Mist’s dry dock and maintenance facility, designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff, for a 2015 ACEC New York Platinum award in the Special Projects category.

Construction of the facility began in 2012 and was completed in 2014.  It is located in the Lower Niagara River on the site of the former Schoellkopf Power Plant in Niagara Falls.  At the end of each season, Maid of the Mist VI and Mist of the Mist VII are lifted onto the dry dock by the Liebherr crane, which has a lift capacity of 430,000 pounds and a 78-foot reach.

“This was an incredibly challenging engineering job,” said Christopher Glynn, Maid of the Mist president.  “Every piece of construction equipment, all of the material and the workforce had to be lowered daily, some 200 feet into the gorge, to the project site.

“As lead designer, Parsons Brinckerhoff did an outstanding job bringing the facility to completion, often in extreme winter weather conditions.  There’s never been a project like this and we are grateful to the entire team that engineered, designed and constructed our new facility.”

The primary feature of the storage facility is a 30,000-square-foot concrete pad, large enough to store two tour boats, plus two floating docks. One is for passenger loading upriver; the other is a maintenance dock that is installed at the facility during the tour season.

The project team also designed and built the foundation for the Liebherr crane; a 2,500-square-foot maintenance and storage building; a 328-foot-long concrete retaining wall; rehabilitation and improvements to the original Schoellkopf plant’s elevator shaft; utility services – electric, gas, water, and communications – from the rim of the gorge surface down to the new facility; and a diesel fueling system for the boats. To reduce the potential for leaks and environmental impacts, there is minimal on-site fuel storage.     

“We set up the design to be issued in packages in the order of the critical path of construction, which allowed design and construction to be performed in parallel,” said John Hubert, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Project Manager. “We broke the project into logical components that could be designed somewhat independently, and assigned experienced leaders to head those tasks.

Parsons Brinckerhoff worked with Halsall Associates on the rehabilitation of an abandoned elevator shaft and the design and delivery of a new elevator and support building at street level, which Maid of the Mist employees use to access the gorge and the boat site during day-to-day operations.

The award will be presented Saturday, March 28, during a black tie gala at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Read more about the Maid of the Mist’s dry dock project at /article/attracting-engineering-talent