Virginia Department of Transportation – Jamestown Scotland Ferry Composite Piles

The Jamestown-Scotland Vehicle Ferry service runs 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The ferry vessels dock ashore through a series of “dolphins” – which consist of a number of piles driven into the seabed – that help to ensure they are docked safely. The frequent use of the dolphins required constant replacement. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) knew it had to find a solution that would allow the ferries to dock safely without the wearing down the structure. After commissioning a study, VDOT found that the $4.2 million solution consisted of 48-inch diameter fiber reinforced series of piles in place of the typical 37 timber pile dolphin cluster – and would save the department around $10 million over 40 years. These new structures better withstand impact forces, feature a longer life cycle, and are good for the environment – ensuring safe docking for the ferries for years to come.