FRP composite piles chosen for bridge rehab at New Jersey seaside resort

Composite Advantage’s fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pipe pilings will replace aging timber fenders on bridges at New Jersey’s Cape May resort.


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The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) has selected Composite Advantage’s (Dayton, Ohio, U.S.) FiberPILE, a system of large diameter fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pipe pilings, to replace aging timber fenders on bridges at a seaside resort at the southern tip of New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula.

Route 147, a 4.2-mile state highway, runs across the bridges that use timber fenders and the NJ DOT needed to replace the aging wooden structures with a product that could meet higher energy absorption requirements and protect concrete bridge piers. 

The original structure, built in 1994, consisted of 141 wood piles. Composite Advantage’s FiberPILE FRP replacement system met the NJ DOT’s energy absorption impact load of 250 kip-foot by using 53 composite piles. Forty-four 76-foot long FiberPILEs were fabricated with an outside diameter of 24 inches and a wall thickness of 1.25 inches. Nine 81 foot-long FiberPILE dolphins were manufactured with a wall thickness of 1.25 inches. Elevations called for FRP piles to be installed 10 feet above water, 32 feet in the water and 34 to 39 feet below the mudline. The FiberPILE dolphins were placed at the ends of the fender, near the pier to absorb higher impact energy created by head-on collisions. A vibratory hammer was used to drive the FRP piles.

The project began in April 2018 and was completed in October of the same year. 

“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. FiberPILE products are corrosion resistant, impervious to marine boring life and the green material doesn’t leak any type of chemicals into the water.”

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