Cyclone Resistant Pontoons Address Unique Site and Use Requirements
November 24, 2015
For the residents of Townsville, the process of taking their boat out for a day on the water was riddled with frustration. Long waits and lack of parking combined with the stress often associated with launching and retrieving a boat (especially by individuals newer to trailered boating). Creating frequent outbreaks of ramp rage at the city’s boat launch parks.
The small town of Townsville, located in North Queensland adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, is heavily steeped in a culture of boating. The town has a population of 171,000 residents and nearly 26,000 of them have a boat under eight meters long. With only eleven existing boat ramps to service all the city’s boaters, the city was simply unable to handle the number of boats wanting to get on the water each day.
A vacant industrial property on Ross River provided the perfect location for a new park with ample room for parking and enough waterfront for the construction of four boat ramps, each with four lanes, and two public fishing pontoons.
Although the site was a perfect location, heavy public use, concerns of flooding and cyclone conditions, and the desire to make the park easily accessible during daylight as well as non-daylight hours required a number of unique design considerations in the construction of the ramps and pontoons.
To mitigate downward pressure on the pontoons during flood events the ramps’ floating Unifloat walkways were designed by Bellingham Marine to be extra wide at three meters. Featuring heavy duty steel piles with a double corrosion protection of epoxy paint and a HDPE sleeve. They were selected for durability and to handle extreme loading situations.
A mesh fence equipped with solar lighting was placed around the piles. This increases safety during night and early morning use of the ramps. The facility’s staging pontoons were also equipped with large overhead solar powered lights. The use of solar powered lighting enabled to City to provide ample lighting. There is no need to running power down to the docks.
Heavy duty, 316 stainless steel components and an oversized double-waler system were utilized. They ensure structural integrity during cyclonic and flood conditions.
The gangways servicing the two staging pontoons were designed with a minimal slope to provide disabled access.
The new park, known as the Townsville Recreational Boating Park, will easily be able to accommodate over 400 boaters a day with parking space for vehicles and trailers. Three of the four planned ramps have been built.
The boating enthusiasts of Townsville no longer have to arrive at the boat park long before dawn. Nor will they spend the day duking it out with other boaters just to enjoy some time on the water. The new Townsville Recreational Boating Park will be an appreciated asset to the City for years to come. It will elevate the pressure experienced by the City’s other boat ramp facilities.