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As the perfect gateway for import and distribution of finished automotive vehicles, Port Houston saw double-digit growth in containers this past year while the global supply chain continued to experience significant challenges. This triggered immediate need for constructing a new wharf at Bayport Terminal, which is recognized as the most modern and environmentally-sensitive container terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
HVJ Associates® was tasked by Jacobs Engineering to perform cost-effective and innovative geotechnical design in short schedule so Wharf 7 could be constructed quickly within the available construction budget.
Significant increases in the cost of construction materials resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic demanded extreme innovation for a more cost-effective design that would increase capacity as needed in the least amount of time. The wharf requires about 400 deep drilled shaft foundations to support the proposed heavily loaded structure and ship-to-shore cranes over 200 feet tall. Drilled shafts designed by the standard theoretical practice are historically known to increase construction costs beyond the budget, and this project threatened to be no exception.
HVJ constructed a test drilled shaft at the project site and performed an innovative Osterberg cell load test to develop site specific, cost-effective load test based foundation design. The load test results enabled HVJ to substantially increase the skin friction capacity of drilled shafts from the capacity developed by the standard theoretical drilled shaft design. This enabled HVJ to substantially reduce the Port Houston's construction cost.
Port Houston was able to accelerate the construction process for Wharf 7, which saved them millions of dollars in their successful mission to quickly increase port capacity and ease supply chain issues without impacting the environment.