Whittier Dolphin Cell Repair

The port of Whittier, Alaska and the Alaska railroad had a series of dolphin cells lining the harbor edge that had reached the end of their lifespan. Dolphin cells are essentially massive bollards that cruise ships, barges and tug boats tie off to, preventing them from smashing into other ships in the harbor as the tides change. 30’ across and 50’ tall from the harbor down to the shore line, the dolphin cells were constructed of steel sheet piles with fill inside and capped with 4’ of concrete at the top. Over the years, the sheet piles had rusted through in various spots, allowing the fill to erode, causing large voids (7-8’ in spots) and mass deterioration to the structures. The sheet piles were too rusted to weld the holes closed, and concrete couldn’t be used to fill the voids since it couldn’t set in time before the tides came in.

Polyseal came up with the solution of injecting the dolphin cells with HMI structural foam to restore lifespan to the bollards. The foam was able to be injected through the rust holes in the sides and completely cap them off, and via injection ports through the concrete cap in the top to ensure a completely full fill. The main thrust of innovation on this project was the use of structural foam in this application. It was the first dolphin cell in the state of Alaska to be injected with structural foam in this manner, and the client was thrilled with the result. The success of this project has opened the door up for Polyseal to tackle multiple other void fill projects similar in nature to this, all due to the unique, fast setting properties of the HMI foam.

In 4 days, the project was completed and Polyseal saved the habor thousands of dollars on dolphin cell replacement. The unique solution of structural void fill SPF allowed for an extended lifespan of the dolphin cells, no downtime to the harbor and train yard operations, and another very happy client.