Proj Overview

The Port of Davisville is Rhode Island’s only public port and serves as a gateway to markets throughout New England. Strategically located near the mouth of Narragansett Bay, Davisville is one of the top destinations of auto imports as well as frozen seafood along the East Coast. Rhode Island is investing $90 million to modernize and expand the capabilities of Pier 2 at the Port.

The expansion project includes constructing a 232 foot long by 124 foot wide pile supported extension to Pier 2. Precast concrete pile caps, precast concrete deck planks, cast-in-place concrete deck overlay, steel pipe piles, and energy absorbing cone fender system were utilized to extend the east berth.

According to David Covell, Project Manager, with the general contractor, Specialty Diving Services, construction began on the overall rehabilitation of the existing Pier 2 in Summer 2018, started on the Pier Extension in January 2019 and will complete the entire project in early 2020.  “We started driving the underlying pile support structure last year and worked closely with the design engineers to overcome some pile driving challenges while keeping the project on schedule,” says Covell. 

JP Carrara manufactured more than 250 pieces to tight tolerances, many of them match cast to adjacent components.  Precast concrete pier caps were similar but not identical which required form changes. 

Epoxy coated rebar was incorporated into the precast to meet long life requirements.

Perpendicular to the pile caps, running east and west were 211 precast concrete solid slabs. The large majority were similar but also included several custom end pieces as well.

JP Carrara & Sons manufactured the large precast components at their Vermont facility and shipped the pieces to the drop site.  Some beams topped out at a weight of 66,000 pounds and required specialty permits to transport. They coordinated the delivery with Specialty Diving Services.  Lifting inserts were used and cast into the beams to aid with material handling.

It was too difficult to perfectly align just in time delivery and installation of the precast.  “The pieces were stored at our yard which has commercial access one half mile from the job site,” explains Covell. We did have to utilize a spreader bar to balance the load when handling these heavy pieces.  We then lifted them from storage onto a material barge that was pushed via tugboat the short distance to the work site.  The last pick was to set it in place utilizing a crane barge moored adjacent to the pier. The precast concrete solid slabs were handled and erected using lifting inserts only.

Difficult to do with other materials, the modularity of the system helped with meeting project goals.

Pile cap spacing was matched to clear solid slabs with projecting bars.  Precast components were spliced to the existing front face of pier 2 to make the transition from old pier to new extension.  The precast solid slabs had a roughened finish to accept a cast-in-place concrete overlay.

By dredging the port to accommodate large ships, extending Pier 2 by 232 feet and allowing a third berthing space, the expansion will put the port in position to continue breaking auto import records, while importing other goods simultaneously.


Built in 1956, Pier 2 handles all of the incoming heavy cargo imports; automobiles, wind turbine components, and any sea shipments, as the only public port in Rhode Island. The precast concrete extension project will extend both the life and capacity of the Pier.


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Project Team


JP Carrara & Sons, Middlebury, VT


Quonset Development Corporation, North Kingstown, RI


Moffatt & Nichol, Newton, MA


Specialty Diving Services, North Kingstown, RI

Photo Credit:

David Covell with Specialty Diving Services

Key Project Attributes

Precast Components

(211) 12” thick x 8’-3” wide x 12’-10” long precast deck panels | max wt = 16,000 lbs

(41) 30” deep x 4’-6” wide x 44’-9” long precast pile cap beams | max wt = 66,000 lbs

(07) 30” deep x 4’-6” wide x 33’-6” long precast pile cap beams w/ a 20” x 8’-8” x 11’-0” precast fender panel | wt = 74,000 lbs

Project/Precast Scope

Sq. Footage:                    28,768 sf