Ferry dock pilings replaced

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The latest set of pilings located in the James River have been replaced as part of the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry (JSF) Composite Dolphin (piling) Replacement Project, which was completed “on time and on budget” March 18.

As part of this phase, 18 pilings were replaced among the five ferry slips – 13 in Surry and five in Jamestown. Ferry traffic was not affected during the replacements.

“Transporting motorists safely and efficiently is our number one priority,” said Kevin Moroney, ferry facility manager. “Replacement of these pilings that help guide our ferries into the slips, and plans for others to be replaced, will help us continue this mission while also helping to protect the environment.”

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Marine Contracting Corp., headquartered in Virginia Beach, began work on the $5.13 million grant-funded project in spring 2021, replacing the existing brittle and damaged creosote and chromated copper arsenate treated wooden pilings at the JSF slips with environmentally friendly, modern, stronger and longer lasting fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pilings. Previously in Jamestown, three pilings were replaced in 2017, and five were replaced in 2019 under a separate grant-funded project.

The dolphin replacement project has won numerous awards, including a 2019 Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance Engineering Award and one from the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure in 2016.

During construction, driving the new pilings caused less disturbance to the river bottom and less noise for the fish species in the area. The new FRP pilings are stronger than the older wooden piling clusters, and when combined with the size of the ferries, only five new ones are needed compared to seven older ones. Thirty piling clusters remain in place in Surry, five remain in place in Jamestown, and 28 will be replaced as part of a later improvements project.

For more information on the JSF, including ferry schedules and views of traffic queues, visit https://www.virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp. Three ferries are in operation, and at maximum, one of the largest ferries can hold up to 70 vehicles. Once on board, the trip is approximately 20 minutes. The ferry is free and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Motorists are encouraged to visit www.511virginia.org, call 511, or download Virginia’s free 511 mobile app, for current traffic and travel information.