Beyond the storm: docks reopen at the Statue of Liberty

Last edited 09/05/2019
Contact Information

Contact: John Piltzecker, Superintendent,, (646) 356-2101

Visitors return to the Statue of Liberty on rebuilt docks.

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, completed replacing the fixed docks destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy at Liberty Island in 2013. One dock was completed and in service for the reopening of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2013. The work dock was completely destroyed by Sandy, while the main visitor dock sustained major damage that made it unsafe for visitors to use until it was repaired. The rebuilding of the access dock s to Liberty Island was one of the first projects to start after Sandy, but not before an analysis of increasing the resiliency of the docks was taken into account.  Both the work dock and the visitor dock were designed with composite piles that have a longer life and provide more protection from storms as well as ships hitting the docks. The 12,000 square foot visitor dock incorporated the salvaged shade structure into the major repair. The 7,000 square foot work dock is almost 275 feet in length and juts out into New York harbor. To help protect this from future storms, shear points that are designed to isolate the damage to a section of dock rather than racking or twisting the entire dock as happened in Sandy were incorporated into the design. The very rigid connections that existed before Sandy increased the total failure or increased damage to the docks, while the replacement dock has the decking done in a manner that it will not transfer that twisting to as much of the dock. The piles and their connections were increased so that the individual dock sections can withstand greater storm surge. The composite piles have pins set into the adjacent concrete to provide deck connections that are much more resistant to floating off in another storm. The resultant docks are now functional and more resistant to storms but look much like they did before Sandy.

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