Pier 4 Reconfiguration

Tacoma, WA

Port of Tacoma


TCF Architecture



Services/Project Type
Ports and Waterfront
Facilities Management and Utilities Infrastructure
Utility Infrastructure
Seismic Design
Piers & Wharves
Planning & Permitting

KPFF is working with the Port of Tacoma on this $120M project to remove and reconstruct an existing concrete pier to accommodate up to two Ultra Large Container Ships and eight 100-foot gage, 24-box wide container cranes. Pier 4 has historically served much smaller container ships and barges and will be upgraded to handle 18,000 TEU vessels. An unusual kinked pierhead line configuration, a waterway width restriction, a 64-foot gauge crane rail system, and mooring and berthing components sized for smaller vessels require a complete reconfiguration of Pier 4. Combined with adjacent Pier 3, the facility will provide 3,000 feet of deep-draft berth length along the Blair Waterway. KPFF is serving as the Prime design consultant and providing Project Management, structural & civil engineering, surveying, and cost estimating services. KPFF is also managing a number of subconsultants, including geotechnical, mechanical, and electrical engineering, and an architect. 

The reconfiguration concept for Pier 4 consists of demolishing a majority of the existing wharf, cutting the slope back by dredging 550,000 cubic yards of sediment, and constructing a new structure that aligns with existing Pier 3. The project posed some unique challenges concerning environmental clean-up and terminal operations that required it to be separated into two phases that were designed in parallel. Phase 1 construction was completed in early 2016 and construction of Phase 2 started in mid 2016. Design scope includes structural design (including the incorporation of a base-isolated seismic force resisting system), operational analysis, dredging design and disposal, slope deepening to -55 MLLW, designing new terminal and crane power systems, and uplands improvements. KPFF also evaluated relocation and adjustment of existing utilities including water sanitary sewer system to accommodate pier reconfiguring, stormwater modifications to satisfy ISGP compliance issues, as well as providing flexible stormwater infrastructure to accommodate future terminal improvements. KPFF worked with the Port’s in-house environmental staff and their environmental consultant to evaluate options for phasing the project, establish BMP requirements, and to develop a dredge plan that met the requirements for environmental clean-up.