The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) took over operation of St. Johns River Ferry in March 2016 and the Florida-based agency was primed for upgrades that included fender slipwalls with funds it secured in 2015. Aggressive currents and strong winds combined with the characteristic stiffness of steel and concrete fenders contributed to hard landings and vessel and guidewall damage. JTA identified the need for a low maintenance fender slipwall system that could provide higher energy absorption, low maintenance and corrosion resistance. After evaluating several options the agency chose Composite Advantage’s, Dayton, Ohio, FiberPILE composite product.
The new FRP slipwalls fabricated for St. Johns River Ferry used 24-inch and 36-inch diameter FiberPILES at lengths up to 100 feet. Wales were made with high-strength composite timbers engineered to distribute impact loads. FRP channels splice the timbers that are bolted to the piles. In addition to superior energy absorption and zero maintenance, FiberPILE systems are dimensionally stable, non-magnetic and lightweight yet provide high impact resistance and low driving friction.
“Fender protection systems and guidewalls traditionally have come in different shapes, sizes and materials,” said Composite Advantage President Scott Reeve. “Selection has relied on the application and criteria such as tidal variations, dimensions and docking structure. FRP products offer great design flexibility. The corrosion resistance of FRP makes it a robust alternative for harsh marine environments. And when you consider the impact factor, FRP products are designed to work under the ‘bend, don’t break’ principle.”