Only a few short years ago, Jacksonville, Florida had a ferry route across the St. Johns River that was in disrepair and near closure. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority took control of the St. Johns River Ferry on March 31, 2016 and brought along funding to improve the ferry link that reduces the drive time for many people living and working north of Jacksonville. In the process, the JTA refurbished the landings and aimed to make the ferries profitable once again.
The ferry system in Jacksonville takes hundreds of cars on a 0.9-mile voyage across the St. Johns River every day. Although it's not as big of a ferry system compared to those in New York and Seattle, it still services Jacksonville 13 hours a day every day and connects Mayport on the south with Ft. George Island on the north.
We were proud to be a part of this revamp as we provided large diameter FRP piles for the guide walls at the ferry terminals in Jacksonville. The FRP guide walls are long lasting, do not require maintenance and provide a softer landing for passengers.
Composite Advantage considers the FRP pipe piles used in the ferry terminal slip walls to be a showcase application of FRP materials.The piles and walls have an optimum combination of stiffness and high strength to provide energy absorption for a long lasting structure and rider comfort. The previous massive steel structure was so stiff that users would feel the jolt of impact. Motorcycles would fall over. The combination of river current and prevailing winds can make the ferry landings very challenging for the captains. However, the change to slipwalls with FRP pilings and plastic lumber wales has made the ferry ride much nicer for riders and operators.