Bahia Urbana: Overcoming Structural Engineering Challenges for Successful Port Redevelopment, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Intense maritime activities have always characterized Puerto Rico. Modern port infrastructure development along the San Juan waterfront occurred between 1889 and 1940. In recent times, thriving cruise ship terminals have redeveloped prime portions of the waterfront. Other areas of the harbor have fallen into disrepair. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico engaged a team of design professionals to tackle a comprehensive redevelopment program. The project - named Bahía Urbana - seeks to open a new chapter in San Juan Harbor's history by stimulating economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable growth. Initial improvement activities included renovation and reconstruction of Piers 6, 7, and 8. Design and construction of these piers encountered and overcame a host of structural engineering challenges. The precarious conditions of existing structures pointed the team toward bulkhead engineering incorporating design for vibration-free sheet pile installation. Geotechnical exploration identified liquefiable soils; with San Juan in a seismically active zone, the team applied PLAXIS finite element code for soil and rock to evaluate static, pseudo-static, dynamic, and liquefied soil loading conditions to value engineer the sheet pile bulkhead structural improvements and design grouted soil anchors. Throughout the process, three-dimensional (3-D) CAD modeling allowed for rapid assessment of alternatives. Scheduled to open in early 2013, the completed project includes a marine façade wall, mooring dolphins designed for 60- to 106-meter vessels, a floating dock water taxi and seaplane berth, 305 linear meters of new sheet pile bulkhead, and a 91- meter long pedestrian bridge.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Pagination: pp 1395-1404
  • Monograph Title: Ports 2013: Success through Diversification

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01521993
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784413067
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Mar 24 2014 3:03PM