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Cape May, New Jersey is a seaside resort at the southern tip of the state’s Cape May Peninsula. Route 147, a 4.2-mile state highway, runs across bridges that use timber fenders.
When the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) needed to replace these ageing structures, they wrestled with selecting a product that could meet higher energy absorption requirements and protect concrete bridge piers.
The New Jersey DOT chose FibrePILE, a system of large diameter fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pipe pilings designed and produced by Dayton, Ohio-based Composite Advantage.
“Our pilings are the ‘fence posts’ that support wales or guard rails in a fender system,” says CA President Scott Reeve. “We’re able to fabricate our pilings with a high strength-to-weight ratio which means we can make a very structurally efficient pile. FibrePILE products are corrosion resistant, impervious to marine boring life and the green material doesn’t leak any type of chemicals into the water.”
The original structure, built in 1994, consisted of 141 wood piles. FibrePILE’s FRP replacement system met the New Jersey DOT’s energy absorption impact load of 250 kip-ft. with just 53 composite piles. Forty-four 76-ft. long FibrePILEs were fabricated with an outside diameter of 24 in. and a wall thickness of 1.25-in.
Nine 81 ft.-long FibrePILE dolphins were manufactured with a wall thickness of 1.25 in. Elevations called for FRP piles to be installed 10 ft. above water, 32 ft. in the water and 34 to 39 ft. below the mudline. The FibrePILE dolphins were placed at the ends of the fender, near the pier to absorb higher impact energy created by head-on collisions.
The contractor used a vibratory hammer to drive the FRP piles. The project began in April 2018 and was completed just 6 months later in October of the same year. High-strength, lightweight FRP allowed the New Jersey DOT to finish the project with one-third the number of piles. Installation was faster and overall costs reduced.
Composite Advantage supplies innovative fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) products for major infrastructure markets. To create its engineered solutions, CA pairs progressive designs with its capability to mould large parts, perform on-site assembly, and support customer installations. The supplier has been developing lightweight, high-strength, cost-effective FRP goods for structurally demanding applications and corrosive environments since 2005. Many of these products have paved the way for first-time use of FRP composites in infrastructure, rail and water applications because of their performance attributes.
The supplier’s comprehensive lineup includes bridge decks, trail bridges, cantilever sidewalks and rail platforms to fender protection systems, pilings, naval ship separators and other waterfront structures. CA is member of the Creative Composites Group, a subsidiary of Hill and Smith Holdings PLC.
Image provided by Composites Advantage
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