Burns Wins Excellence Award for Pier Reconstruction

Burns was honored with an “Outstanding Project Award” by the Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineer’s (DVASE) 2018 Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards for the Port of Philadelphia Pier 84 Outshore End Refurbishment project.

The project – a rehabilitation of the outshore end of a 98-year old pier on the Philadelphia waterfront, currently in use as the leading cocoa import facility in the United States – brought with it many challenges and unique intricacies.

First, the refurbishment of the pier required the demolition and reconstruction of both the interior warehouse floor and exterior apron simultaneously in order to minimize the duration of impact on the tenant’s daily operations.

The new interior structural slab is supported by 370 grout-filled steel micro-piles, while 59 driven steel pipe piles will support the independent exterior aprons. To minimize vibrations concerns caused by the exterior pile driving during the grouting of micro-piles and placement of interior concrete, the team took an active role in coordinating the various subcontractors’ installation sequence so as not to impede the progress or adversely affect the integrity of any portion of the ongoing construction.

The tenant continued to operate Pier 84 during construction, compounding coordination challenges. Burns’ team established strong working relationships and lines of communication with all stakeholders including the Pier’s tenant, the contractor, and PhilaPort staff to ensure a high level of collaboration throughout the project, and that the needs and expectations of all parties were met.

Additional project challenges included:

  • Incomplete/inaccurate record drawings from 1919 & 1924 led to unexpected conditions during excavation and demolition
  • The general contractor’s aggressive schedule compressed an 18-month project into just 12 months
  • A substantial amount of construction activities occurred below the high-tide water level of the Delaware River, which meant that work had to be phased to coincide with low tide.

We are proud to have played an integral role on such an exciting project.  Congratulations to PhilaPort and the entire team on a job well done!

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