Barge Breasting Dolphin – Wilkesbarre Pier East Providence RI

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClient: Capital Terminal Co.
100 Dexter Road
East Providence, RI
Completion Date: 2004
Total Project Value: $315,000

Relevant Project Features:

  • Prepared Plans and Specifications as a Design‑Build Project
  • Prepared RICRMC permit Application
  • Performed Construction Management, Layout, and Inspection Services

RT Group, Inc. (RTG) was retained by Capital Terminal Company to implement the Capital Improvements established in the study prepared by RTG. Based on RTG’s recommendations, Phase I of the capital improvements at the Pier was implemented and completed in 2004. As part of Phase I, RTG was required to determine an economical and immediate solution to accommodate the arrival of the smaller petroleum barges that utilize the Pier and were consistently causing damage to the existing breasting dolphins.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARTG designed, permitted, and construction managed the installation of two (2) Barge Breasting Dolphins at the Pier. The Barge Breasting Dolphins consisted of cone shaped energy absorbing fendering units supported on pile supported structures. One Barge Breasting Dolphin was dedicated to berthing the bow of smaller barges and protecting the corner of the main breasting dolphin (East Dolphin). The second Barge Breasting Dolphin was installed to replace the existing timber fendering system on the existing middle breasting dolphin at the Pier, and was designed to aide in the berthing of larger barges and tankers.

The dedicated Barge Breasting Dolphin is pile supported with vertical and batter steel H-Piles. As part of the design of the steel support structure RTG accounted for future work anticipated in relocating the berthing plane further into the ship berth as the other breasting dolphins are upgraded with new energy absorbing fendering units as part of subsequent phases of capital improvements at the Pier.

The second Barge Breasting Dolphin required the structural reinforcement of the existing slightly displaced timber supported middle breasting dolphin. As part of the design, RTG evaluated the condition of the existing displaced structure and determined if using steel H-Piles as reinforcement would be sufficient or was full replacement of the existing breasting dolphin required.

RTG along with Specialty Diving Services, Inc. performed a lateral impact test on the existing structure, along with risk assessment analyses of the structure. Based on this work, RTG determined that the reinforcement would be cost effective and structurally adequate.

The Pier is an active offloading facility which required coordination with the client and the contractor for vessel interruptions, material deliveries, and construction activities. This phase of the project was completed under a Design-Build model with the marine contractor, SDS and has been functioning as designed since completion, without causing further damage to the existing breasting dolphins. RTG is currently evaluating future upgrades to the existing fendering systems of the remaining breasting dolphins and how to phase the work so that the facility can remain an active offloading facility.