¡Pura vida! in Costa Rica
Life is good and so is work at the site of Moín Container Terminal in Costa Rica.
Newly-arrived Engineer at BAM International Paolo Gatta reports – and adds a bit of personal experience.
¡Pura vida! is what Costa Ricans say to express they’re feeling fine or they really like something. It’s also the perfect description of Paolo Gatta’s feelings about his time on the Moín project so far:
‘As soon as I landed on the project site I found a very interesting, multicultural project team with over 137 staff and more than 22 different nationalities. Add to that a challenging workload and you simply cannot get bored.’
‘The biggest nearby village is Puerto Limon. It has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere with lots of music, great food and local carnivals. The country is immensely beautiful and especially the rain forest is stunning. On the weekends you’ll see staff heading down to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca with their cars packed with surfboards – on their way to a day of relaxing and cooling down.’
So what is keeping Paolo and his teammates busy?
‘First of all, we have now been able to move to site, from the temporary offices in Limon to the newly-built site offices and labour camp in Moín. Another important player in the project has also arrived: the permanent batching plant that was commissioned in Turkey. It’s now fully operational with an impressive output, seen that the first 1,000 of the 14,000 Xblocs are already waiting in store.’
‘The next main activity on site, scheduled for 15 January, is a series of pre-production piling tests to confirm the engineer’s design and the team’s choices of driving equipment and hammer. All the necessary systems are on their way to Costa Rica and should be arriving from mid-December.’
‘We will be trying three different configurations of piles: one with a flat reinforcement plate closing the toe, one with a driving shoe and one that is simply open-ended. The test piles will be fully instrumented with strain gauges, so we will be able to read the skin frictions generated as the piles pass through different layers of soil – they have to go through 14-18 metres of sand before they reach the solid seabed.’
‘Another challenge to the proposed method is the bearing capacity of the surrounding soil: this has been freshly reclaimed by our partner Van Oord and will have to carry the weight of the counterweight kentledge blocks. The piles will be tested to a maximum of 1,000 tonnes and the counterweight will be 1,100 tonnes.’
Leaving something behind
The site team is not only busy with the work preparation but also dedicated to its CSR initiatives.
‘At this stage, we are organising clean-ups of the beach in the area surrounding the construction site. We all want to preserve the natural beauty of this place, while at the same time improve the region’s economic outlook.’