Crews wrapped chain-link fence around the perimeter of the soon-to-be municipal complex Monday, as Sambe Construction prepares to break ground on the 45,000-square-foot structure later this month.
The fencing will block off virtually the entire parking lot for the library and recreation center, except for a small section outside the rec center, throughout construction, which is expected to take roughly 450 days.
To prepare the ground for construction, crews will have to perform a "soil exchange," which involves removing the loose soil underneath the site of the old town hall and replacing it with denser soil, explained Sambe vice president Yan Girlya.
Project architects Ragan Design Group had originally recommended a process known as rapid impact compaction (RIC), in which the soil is tamped down at a very fast pace with a large machine, as the most ideal solution. This came after the discovery of several feet of poor soil conditions in the ground—the result of homes at the site, prior to the former town hall's construction, being torn down and the basements filled with debris. This presents a problem, since the new building will be larger and heavier than the previous town hall, not least of all because it will hold tens of thousands of books.
But Girlya said, while RIC is the most expeditious process—taking between seven and eight days usually—it's not always the most effective. The soil exchange, though it takes longer (about two to three week) and is more labor intensive, has a much higher rate of success.
"If the RIC is done and it doesn't work, the owner is on the hook," said Girlya, who added that the soil exchange process will not impact the project cost positively or negatively.
The soil exchange will also benefit property owners who live near the site, who won't have to worry about their basement walls cracking from the vibrations or the noise from the RIC.
Girlya said his crews will begin the soil exchange probably at the beginning of January. The process is not expected to impact the project timeline.
Township manager Scott Carew praised Girlya's and Sambe's work thus far.
"He really seems to understand the urgency to get this done on time and underbudget," said Carew.
Follow all our coverage of the town hall project by visiting the Moorestown Town Hall topic page.