Located on the Delaware River across from the busy industrial port of Philadelphia is the Valero Refinery. After more than 80 years of service, the refinery's concrete and timber docks were in serious disrepair and needed major rehabilitation. Sections of the concrete seawall that lined the dock were falling into the river, and the dock's
timber decking had collapsed into the water beneath it.
If the portage was to remain an effective part of the refinery's operations, the seawall would need to be stabilized so the docks could be rebuilt around it. The continued viability of the structure required that these changes be completed quickly, and for as little construction expense as possible.
Engineers planned to stabilize the seawall by passing tie rods through its face and anchoring them deep into the riverbank behind it. Once bolted and tensioned against the wall, these rods would secure the structure and halt further collapse. To install the rods, the Cutting Technologies (CTI) team was called in to core drill a series of 4-inch-
diameter holes horizontally through the concrete seawall at thicknesses ranging from 4 feet to 16 feet. To protect the hulls of docked ships from the bolted rod ends, CTI capped each hole with a countersink hole 22 inches in diameter and 16 inches deep.
Realizing one area of the wall was beyond repair, engineers needed a safe, clean way to cut and remove it from the remaining structure. CTI did this by sectioning it into manageable pieces with diamond wire sawing. In all, nearly 30 transverse cuts were made through an area of reinforced concrete that measured 8.5 feet high, and tapered from 6 feet thick at its base to 2 feet thick at the top. Additionally, 52 rigging holes were drilled to enable safe, quick removal of the sections once they were cut free.
As work progressed and the riverbank was excavated to install the tie rods, a number of bollard foundations were unearthed. At 70 tons each, an efficient way to remove these large concrete blocks was needed. Again, CTI used its diamond wire sawing method to section the blocks into manageable pieces for easy removal.
Throughout the project's winter schedule, rapid progress was balanced with worker safety. Since the jobsite was right on the icy waters of the river, CTI preassembled floating work stations that enabled technicians to continuously work without danger, and without sacrificing valuable production time to the rise and fall of the tides.
After three short months of consistent effort, the project was safely completed within schedule, under budget and with no accidents or lost-time incidents.
Refinery Dock and Seawall Revamped
Refineries & Petrochemical Plants
Diamond Wire Sawing
Diamond Core Drilling
Valero Energy Corporation
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