Grassy Sound Fender Replacement

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The Rt. 147 bridge over Grassy Sound is located in scenic Cape May County, NJ. The original timber bridge fender system was badly deteriorated and needed replacement.

NJDOT chose to have the engineer design the replacement fender using high-strength large diameter FRP pipe piles, along with heavily reinforced plastic lumber wales. They were able to generate a design using just 54 FRP piles, whereas the original timber fender system required over 150 piles. Despite requiring a fraction of the number of piles, the FRP system provides far greater energy absorption capacity. This allows the fender to withstand impacts from barges and other large vessels.

NJDOT has a long history of using low-maintenance FRP composite piles and reinforced plastic lumber for bridge fendering applications. The FRP materials are extremely durable, resulting in lower maintenance costs. Furthermore, unlike treated timber, the FRP piles and wales will not leach any toxic chemicals into the surrounding water, presenting zero risk to the environment.

NJDOT recognizes the life cycle cost savings and performance benefits of FRP piles and wales. For that reason, more than 15 bridge fenders across the State are now using these durable and energy absorbing materials.


Piles: 24” OD and 36” OD FiberPILE
Wales: 12”x12” SeaTimber with 8ea-1.625” dia GFRP rebar
Catwalk: FiberForce reinforced plastic lumber planks, posts and railing