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Inside/Out Newsletter

Pier 3 Upgrade Wins

APWA Washington Public Works Project of the Year

On 2 April 2015, the Port of Tacoma’s Pier 3 Upgrade project was awarded the American Public Works Association’s Project of the Year Award for Structures between $5 million and $25 million. The Public Works Project of the Year Award promotes excellence in public works projects by recognizing the partnership between the managing agency; the consultant, architect, and engineer team; and the contractor, who work together to successfully complete public works projects. The Port of Tacoma plays a major role in the Pacific The John ranking L. O’Brienthird Building is located in for U.S. exports Northwest, on the West Coast to the rest of the world. More than $25 billion of commerce in foreign and domestic shipments and more than 70 percent of the containers land at the Port to markets in the Midwest and East Coast of the United States. In the last decade, competition has increased with ports worldwide, and the expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate large super post-Panamax container ships is expected to negatively affect ports without increased maritime capabilities. In response, the Port planned and executed facility expansions to maintain its position as a major West Coast commerce hub and to accommodate its clients’ lease requirements. As part of this competitive program, the Port selected BergerABAM to upgrade Pier 3, a part of its Husky Container Terminal. This pier, initially constructed in 1987 and lengthened in 2004, was originally designed for 70,000-longton container vessels and 64-foot-gage cranes, with capacity to add 100-foot-gage cranes. In 2012, BergerABAM began the design of the Pier 3 upgrade to accommodate modern 100-foot-gage cranes capable of serving the super postPanamax container vessels. Because the Pier 3 upgrade was the first phase of a larger terminal upgrade, including the adjacent Pier 4s’ upgrade, the Pier 3 upgrade had to consider terminal operations during Pier 4’s rebuild and integration. Though Pier 3 had been designed for the 100-foot-gage older cranes, the pier’s capacity was not sufficient for modern cranes that work with 24-container-wide super post-Panamax container ships. Therefore, substantial structural improvements to the pier had to be made for the larger crane loads, while accommodating the Port’s current maritime functions.

The 1987 structure’s 14-foot outboard—including the outboard crane beam—had to be demolished and strengthened, and a larger crane beam added. In addition, the existing pier bulkhead had to be structurally supplemented to support the inboard 100-foot-gage rail. New crane appurtenances, including new tie-downs, pin sockets, and crane stops were incorporated in the new outboard crane beam and existing bulkhead. The Port desired both 100-foot-gage and 64-foot-gage cranes operate on the pier simultaneously; all infrastructure for 64-foot-gage cranes needed to remain functional, and infrastructure that the pier upgrade affected needed to be replaced. One design challenge was the need to pay particular attention to how the existing 16-inch precast, prestressed concrete piles and existing deck structure would behave when integrated with new crane rail beams to ensure the existing structural elements were not overstressed. Accommodating the larger vessels also meant that a new, upgraded unit fender system had to be provided along the full length of the pier, as well as larger mooring hardware. Future dredging of the berth and the addition of a future toe-wall had to be considered in the upgrade. Complete replacement of the electrical system was needed for the pier. Other bullrail-mounted utilities, such as potable water, had to be replaced in the rebuilding of the wharf bullrail.

The Pier 3 upgrade project allows the wharf to support larger container cranes.

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Profile for BergerABAM

Inside/Out Newsletter | Spring 2015 | Issue 57  

BergerABAM is a consulting firm offering services in the areas of planning, civil and structural engineering, architecture, environmental se...

Inside/Out Newsletter | Spring 2015 | Issue 57  

BergerABAM is a consulting firm offering services in the areas of planning, civil and structural engineering, architecture, environmental se...