Hall’s Harbor Wharf is Canada’s first wharf utilizing lightweight, non-corroding
GFRP V-Rod bars and a steel-free deck.
Following the failure of a 40-metre section of wharf timber piles, the need to
rehabilitate the 1904 structure took on an even higher level of urgency than had
already been allotted. Like many east coast communities, Hall’s Harbor had
assumed responsibility for its marine infrastructure from the federal government.
In preliminary design work with Vaughan Engineering, ISIS Canada’s team in
Halifax showed that the cost of using innovative materials and technologies was
only slightly more than the cost associated with conventional methods. The
additional cost of the GFRP reinforcements and steel-free deck over
conventional steel reinforced concrete was $20,000 or 4.5 percent.
The long-term benefits, however, were substantially more attractive because the
absence of steel reinforcements extends the life of the wharf from approximately
30 years to between 60 and 80 years with minimal maintenance. This is a critical
factor given that communities like Hall’s Harbor are solely responsible for
maintaining their wharfs. The inclusion of fibre-optic monitoring technology
embedded in glass rods (a newly patented Canadian technology) adds solid data
to support the application of FRPs in other marine environment structures.
The wharf incorporates several innovative technologies. It is constructed with
concrete deck panels on deep concrete beams or pile caps spaced at
approximately four-metre intervals. The transverse beams are supported on steel
piles at both the front face and back. The pile caps contain a unique design
where an outer layer of GFRP V-Rod reinforcement under low stress protects an
inner layer of minimum steel reinforcement. The deck panels contain synthetic
fibre-reinforced concrete and utilize an internal compressive arching technology.
The panels also contain GFRP rods to reinforce against uplift force created by
wave action during severe storms.
© “Reinforcing Concrete Structures with Fiber Reinforced Polymers” by ISIS Canada