New port construction illustrates cost savings and collaboration on an international scale

Nov. 21, 2014

The Challenge:

The southeast peninsula of the island of Trinidad is where 90% of the nation’s natural gas is produced through offshore drilling. Due to lacking infrastructure in the southeastern area, in order to service this existing energy industry, the gas had to be transported by ship around the island to an existing port on the northern shore of the island. This was highly inefficient as it took a considerable amount of time and resources to circumnavigate the island, and energy producers such as BP, BG and Repsol needed facilities closer to their drilling sites. The nation had an opportunity for expansion in the energy sector, but did not have the infrastructure to support it. In order to better serve these major energy producers, the nation needed to develop maritime logistics in the southeast to facilitate this economic growth.

In 2008, the Port of Galeota, located on the southeastern coast of Trinidad, was sanctioned to be developed to accommodate this increasing demand on the area’s infrastructure. Its existing facilities were undersized, out of date and unable to support a booming offshore industry. The port needed to be expanded and an access road and storage facility were to be built over soft soils. In addition, it was necessary for the many construction and engineering vendors involved to communicate quickly and precisely. Associated Construction Products (ACP) Inc. of Lutz, Fla., called upon Strata Systems for its technical expertise, resources, and ability to work internationally with multiple vendors in order to get the job done right.

The Solution:

The original plan called for filling the whole site with dredged material up to a specific level then placing a high-grade, select backfill material over the soft soil for a 3-ft depth. However, ACP utilized Strata’s preliminary engineering capabilities to create a more cost-effective design. The new plan matched the original design structurally, but also brought a large value-engineering cost-savings benefit to both applications of the project due to the incorporation of Stratagrid.

Access Road Application: A StrataBase geogrid solution was utilized to build a new .5-mile paved access road over soft, compressible soils. Three layers of SB30 were installed within the new embankment, which was built on top of an existing low-level embankment road. The elevation was raised by almost 5 ft, and the footprint was widened by 26 ft. The multi-layered geogrid system eliminated an originally planned surcharge design, shaving months off the project schedule.

Storage Facility Application: The expanded storage facility application is now a 62,664 sq ft area that comprises two layers of geogrid, SB30 at the bottom and SB12 at the midpoint, beneath the paved pad. The original plan called for off-site fill for the top layer, but the incorporation of the two geogrids allowed for the use of dredge spoil material in construction of the upper 3-ft layer of the embankment. This eliminated the need for 62,664 cu ft of expensive, select import fill. The geogrid enhanced the subgrade and overcompensated for the lower grade fill material but at a lower cost.

The Results:

In addition to the initial cost savings, these two multi-layered geogrid designs will help reduce potential long-term differential settlement for both applications. Though the project required a large amount of communication, Strata’s innovative design, attention to detail, and commitment to excellent customer service ensured the project exceeded the client’s expectations.

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