SR714 Martin Downs Blvd Bridge Fender Replacement

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The Martin Downs Blvd (SR714) Bridge over the South Fork of the St. Lucie River is located in Stuart, FL. The original fender system (creosote piles and wales) was badly deteriorated and needed replacement. In early 2020, FDOT advertised a contract to replace the fender system.

C&D Construction was awarded the project. C&D selected Creative Pultrusions (CP) as their designer for the required polymeric fender system, which had a vessel impact energy requirement of 179 kip-ft. CP’s engineering team found that a combination of 12” OD SuperPile along with Tangent Technologies 10”x10” GFRP rebar reinforced plastic wale was the most cost-effective solution.

C&D selected Freck Enterprises to do the fender installation. With their 15+ years of experience installing polymeric fender systems, Freck was able to complete the fender construction on time. Freck used a drop hammer and steel pile insert to efficiently drive the SuperPiles without inflicting any damage to the tops of the piles. Tangent supplied wales with mitered end cuts to match the required geometry of the fender. These factory mitered cuts along with the FRP splice plates (which are far easier to install than the traditional steel plates) enabled Freck to quickly install the wales; this was critical due to the tight project schedule.

FDOT has a long history of using low-maintenance polymeric piles and wales for bridge fendering applications; the oldest applications date back to the mid-90’s. The extremely durable FRP/polymeric materials are essential for the highly corrosive, Florida coastal environment. Furthermore, unlike the creosote piles and timbers that they replaced for this project (which had to be disposed of in a Class 3 landfill for toxic materials) the polymeric piles and wales will not leach any harmful chemicals into the surrounding water, presenting zero risk to the environment.


Piles: 12” OD x ½” wall SuperPile
Wales: 10”x10” PolyForce Plus reinforced w/ 4ea-1.25” dia GFRP rebar
Catwalk: PolyForce reinforced plastic lumber planks, posts and railing
Splice Plates: FRP plates with factory drilled holes