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Juneau Cruise Ship Terminal Concrete Floats Win PCI Design Award

The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, creating an aesthetically pleasing and non-obtrusive structure along Juneau’s waterfront.

In January 2018, the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) announced that the Port of Juneau’s Cruise Ship Terminal concrete floats designed by BergerABAM won PCI’s Special Design Award for All-Precast Option. The award will be presented on 23 February 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Entries are judged by independent juries of industry experts who consider creativity and ingenuity in the use of precast concrete to achieve aesthetic expression, function, economy, and sustainability; and recognized excellence in design, engineering, manufacturing, and construction.

The City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ), the capitol of Alaska, has no roads connecting it to the rest of North America because the rugged terrain that surrounds the city makes it accessible by only sea and air. Tourism is a major contributor to the economy of Juneau; it is the most visited city in the state, with 99 percent of the Alaska cruise line vessels stopping at this port city. With over 1 million tourists visiting Juneau, cruise lines were estimated to spend $183 million in goods and services in 2017. The Juneau Cruise Ship Terminal is of prime importance to the economy of the city because it serves two out of five cruise ships that can be at berth simultaneously at the downtown harbor. However, the capacity of the old pile-supported timber dock at the Juneau Cruise Ship Terminal was limited to the berthing of one 800-foot-long and one 1,000-foot-long cruise ship. As a result, unlike its sister ports at Ketchikan and Skagway, the terminal was not able to meet the demands of evolving Panamax and post-Panamax vessels. CBJ decided to build a low-maintenance replacement dock, which included two floating concrete berths that would enable simultaneous berthing of one 1,000-foot-long and one 1,100-foot-long cruise ship.

The overall project was the owner’s design except for the pontoons. Manson was selected as the general contractor, and BergerABAM was chosen in partnership with Concrete Technology Corporation (CTC) for the design-build of two precast concrete pontoons. The south berth pontoon was 300 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 20 feet deep; the north berth pontoon was 400 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 20 feet deep. Precasting two concrete pontoons of notable size simultaneously at CTC’s precast plant in Tacoma, Washington, was vital in completing the project on time and meeting the needs of the owner by fabricating two efficient, durable, and cost-effective pontoons.

The concrete floats accommodate loading and unloading of passengers during large tidal fluctuations, in this case up to 30 feet, without the need for complex operations. Furthermore, concrete floats require minimal maintenance because of corrosion-prevention measures taken during design and construction. These make the concrete floats an attractive option for waterfront structures in Alaska.