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Port of Seattle uses new plastic pilings

Port of Seattle uses new plastic pilings

by Tim Flanagan on February 17, 2010

Innovative material replaces aging wood pilings in pilot program.

Plastic pilings being driven to replace rotted wood pilings at Marine Industrial Center 4 February 2010.

The Port of Seattle is replacing fender piling at the Maritime Industrial Center’s (MIC) east pier with plastic piling. Part of a pilot program, the new low-maintenance pilings are made of recycled materials that are impervious to marine borers, and resistant to corrosion.

Plastic pilings being driven to replace rotted wood pilings at Marine Industrial Center 4 February 2010.American Construction Company of Tacoma is driving these innovative plastic and fiberglass fender piles into the ship canal, replacing the aging creosote treated wood piles currently there. Once driven as much as 20 feet into the ground, the pilings will be connected to the dock. These piles will act as a buffer between a ship or barge and the wooden docks, protecting and lengthening the useful life of the dock.

Since these composite pilings are relatively new technology, the Port of Seattle is leading the way in the Puget Sound to test what could to be a clean, green product that will help protect the Ship Canal and the fish that either live there or pass through en route to their spawning habitat.

Installing the new piles involves a few simple and careful steps. Using a floating crane barge docked alongside the pier, a chain attached to a boom pulls the old wooden piles from the earth and water and stacks them on another barge. The new plastic composite piles are then sunk in the submerged earth and tied into place. A steel hood attached to the crane’s boom is lowered over the top of a pile and then uses vibrations and downward pressure to sink the pile.

The composite plastic fender piles have many advantages including considerable shock absorption capabilities and what is anticipated to be a longer life expectancy, and may be a good alternative to wood or steel fender piles. Since this is a pilot program, the Port of Seattle will observe how these new pilings perform in their new role before using them at other facilities.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pauline Barrett February 18, 2010 at 8:17 am

For we recyclers it would be great to know which plastics were used. I know that our garabage service only collects a small portion of possible types, and perhaps if it were known that the other plastics (polystyrene) had a marketable product, they would reconsider.

2 jim lynch October 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Can you tell me who manufactures these composite or plastic pilings for salt water dock applications?

Thanks
Jim Lynch

3 Dan April 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I had no idea that they started using plastic piling last year. It definitely makes sense, the maintenance should be much lower on these…

-Dan
Webmaster of Inflatable Boats

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