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RACE Coastal Engineering Presented Connecticut Achievement in Civil Engineering Award

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The 700-ton lift enables hauling some of the largest vessels in New England, including barges, ferry boats, tugboats, and mega-yachts.

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RACE Project Engineer Matthew Williams, PE, Project Manager Matthew Rakowski, PE and CSCE Past President Brianna Ritacco, PE.

June 15, 2022: The Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE) presented RACE Coastal Engineering (RACE) with the 2022 Achievement in Civil Engineering (ACE) Award – Coastal Structural Engineering.


The award specifically recognizes RACE’s work on the 700-Ton Marine Travelift Infrastructure now in service at Bridgeport Boatworks at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport, CT. The 700-ton lift enables hauling some of the largest vessels in New England, including barges, ferry boats, tugboats, and mega-yachts.

Bridgeport Boatworks had previously operated 75-ton and a 200-ton travel lifts for recreational and commercial vessels. To enable the 700-ton travel lift to haul larger vessels, two new travel lift piers needed to extend toward the Harbor’s Federal Channel.

The rail piers were designed for vertical capacity and for potential 100-year storm wave and current forces.  The piers’ structural design required deep foundations consisting of spliced piles extending approximately 130’ into the ground. To minimize the impacts from corrosion due to the salt water environment, RACE utilized an epoxy coating on the steel piles as well as increased the steel thickness of the piles.  The concrete rails were reinforced with galvanized steel. RACE worked closely with the contractor Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman during construction and load testing.

The project was within setbacks from the Bridgeport Harbor federal channel. This required a significant amount of coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE required the foundation to be designed for the anticipated dredging depths of the deep water port’s channel.

During construction, RACE worked closely with the Project Team including the project owner, soil testing labs, material scientists, divers, pile capacity testing firms, travel lift manufacturer, and the construction company to ensure the infrastructure’s integrity.

With the new 700-ton lifting capability, the shipyard can haul some of the largest vessels in New England. This brings significant maritime and job opportunities to Connecticut. In 2021 for example, the international ferry company and New York based Hornblower Group committed to bring their ferries, dining and sight-seeing vessels to Bridgeport, CT for maintenance, upgrades and retrofits. This agreement has brought a significant number of new job opportunities, such as Welders, Craftsman, Diesel Technicians, Project Managers, Safety Officers, and other marine industry positions.

Posted June 15, 2022

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