ESCS Used to Create Vital Port Space

by Jeff Speck, Arcosa Lightweight

Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate (ESCS) is frequently used in expansion projects that create vital port space along the southern tip of Louisiana. The most recent expansion project at Port Fourchon, located in Lafourche Parish, created 300 new acres for development and added an additional 10-thousand linear feet of waterfront.

This vital port serves as a land base for almost all offshore oil platforms and drilling rigs positioned in the Gulf of Mexico and acts as a foreign cargo shipping terminal. ESCS lightweight aggregate from Arcosa’s Erwinville, Louisiana facility was used to build new slips that are a thousand feet wide and nearly 4,000 feet long.

Arcosa’s Steve Rowe says the expansion was necessary to accommodate larger vessels. “The older slips, B and C, are only 700 feet wide,” says Rowe. “The new Slip D facility will allow longer and wider ships to turn around but will take years to completely build out,” he says.

Economical Land Creation

For decades, lightweight aggregate has been used as backfill to create useable land at the sea port. Some 700 acres of land have been created over the years through similar projects. “It’s really very simple,” says Jeff Speck of Arcosa. “ESCS lightweight aggregate is more dependable and more economical for land creation and it’s the material of choice for projects like this.”

Speck says lightweight aggregate provides numerous structural and economic advantages and notes the utilization of lightweight on this type of project can help lower both initial construction and long-term cost.

“The lightweight being used at the Port Fourchon reduces the lateral load against sheet pilings and also greatly reduces the vertical loads on soils at the bottom of the sheet piling. The heavier the weight of the fill, the deeper the sheet piling has to be driven to prevent toe failure. Deeper sheet piling means more steel will be needed to complete the project,” he says. “Using our product significantly decreases the depth to which the sheet piles must be driven and the chances of failure,” says Speck.

Engineers trust ESCS and know that they can achieve the results that they need on critical projects such as the Port.

Besides a vital link to oil production, Port Fourchon also serves commercial fishermen, foreign cargo shipping enterprises, and offers a unique area for recreation and tourism.

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