Pier 4 Reconfiguration

Tacoma, WA

Port of Tacoma


Manson Construction

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

KPFF worked 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 historically served much smaller container ships and barges and was 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 required a complete reconfiguration of Pier 4. Combined with adjacent Pier 3, the facility now provides 3,000 feet of deep-draft berth length along the Blair Waterway. KPFF served as the Prime design consultant and provided project management, structural & civil engineering, surveying, and cost estimating services. KPFF also managed a number of subconsultants, including geotechnical, mechanical, and electrical engineering, and an architect.

The reconfiguration concept for Pier 4 consisted of demolishing a majority of the existing original wharf, cutting the slope back by dredging 550,000 cubic yards of sediment, and constructing a new structure that aligned with the 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 and was finished in late 2018. Design scope included 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 provide 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 cleanup.


Awards & Recognition

ASCE COPRI Project Excellence Award (Large project category) 2021

ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards 2019


We would like to take the opportunity to express our appreciation for work accomplished to by the KPFF staff. The KPFF inherent knowledge of marine structures was key in defining the various design criteria and alternatives associated with the project.

The overall management provided by Scott Kuebler was outstanding. Scott was instrumental in the success of this project with his management of staff, subconsultants and sound professional advice.

The Pier 4 Phase 2 Reconfiguration was one of the largest single contracts issued by the Port of Tacoma. Not only was the project completed on time but was also more than $16 million below budget. The success of this project was truly a team effort including our Port staff and the design and management expertise provided by the KPFF staff. As we now see larger ships calling at Pier 4, offloaded with the recently delivered container cranes, we can appreciate our efforts in completing this historic project. Well done and congratulations.   

Trevor Thornsley, P.E., Port of Tacoma