Fugro’s vulnerability assessment informs Port of San Francisco’s safe and sustainable future

Fugro has completed a geotechnical site characterisation, earthquake hazard and geotechnical vulnerability assessment for the Port of San Francisco’s Waterfront Resilience Programme.

The work was conducted over a period of three years as part of a multi-hazard risk assessment (MHRA) to identify immediate and long-term hazards, such as those associated with earthquakes, flooding and sea-level rise. As the port’s lead geotechnical engineer for future programme phases, Fugro will use the MHRA inputs to develop and design optimal retrofit solutions for the port’s ageing seawall.

The 5km seawall was built more than 100 years ago, and forms the foundation of San Francisco’s Northeast Waterfront, which houses a critical mix of open spaces, tourist attractions, businesses, utilities, disaster response facilities, transportation networks, and state and regional maritime assets. The seawall’s age and proximity to two major active faults makes the waterfront especially vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding.

Fugro’s approach to the MHRA emphasised two key goals – reducing the uncertainty in the ground conditions for improved safety, and minimising potential overengineering of seawall retrofit solutions for maximum cost efficiencies. These goals were accomplished through a targeted, high-quality geotechnical field campaign, development of a robust 3D ground model, and the use of innovative dynamic soil structure interaction analyses to confidently evaluate the seawall’s seismic stability. The result was a reliable, rather than conservative, vulnerability assessment which will allow the port to make informed funding decisions on retrofit design and construction.

Thaleia Travasarou, consulting manager for Fugro in the Americas, said: “The MHRA was a huge undertaking, and Fugro is pleased to have contributed with delivery of our geo-data and expertise that will help guide future resilience decisions. We are thrilled to be continuing our work with the port during the next programme phases, helping to secure the city’s coastal infrastructure for safe and sustainable operations over the long-term.”