Solutions From Concept To Completion
Structural Engineering
Site Solutions From Concept To Completion
Civil Engineering
Solutions Where Land Meets Water
Marine + Coastal
Solutions From Procurement To Completion
Construction Engineering
Structural + Mechanical Specialists
Entertainment Engineering
Consultation, Design + Inspection
Facade + Building Envelope
Soil + Foundation
Geotechnical Engineering
Investigation + Litigation Support
Forensic Engineering
Arts + Entertainment
Live Performances
Museums + Art Displays
Studios + Sound Stages
TV + Film Production
Theme Parks + Playplaces
Colleges + Universities
Private + Specialty Schools
Public K-12
Solar Energy
Transmission Infrastructure
Wind Energy
Oil + Gas
Senior Care
Outpatient Facilities
Heavy Industrial
Warehouse + Distribution Centers
Industrial Ports + Terminals
Ports + Coastal
Berths, Piers + Wharves
Ferry Landings, Ship Terminals
Floating Structures
Ports + Terminals
Marinas + Breakwaters
Transfer Stations
Public Infrastructure
Bikeways + Trails
Garage + Parking Facilities
Parks + Public Spaces
Recreational Spaces
Utility Infrastructure
Real Estate Development
Community Facilities
Multifamily Residential
Ports + Terminals
Rail Transportation
Roads + Highways
Ropeway + Linear Infrastructure
Floating Harbor Wetland
Multimodal Processing Plant
416 + 420 Kent Dynamic Highrise
Wittpenn Bridge
Tiffany Crane
LaGuardia Airport Terminal B
NYC Ferry
Orlando Airport LED Displays
A leading full-service engineering firm renowned for our trusted, high quality, and innovative approach to solving complex challenges.

South Wetlands Park

The South Philadelphia Wetlands Park is a testbed for innovative adaptive reuse techniques and technologies that may soon serve as a unique model for urban ecological restoration. As part of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s effort to turn abandoned areas along the Delaware River into a thriving park system, McLaren Engineering Group and the project team are focused on designs for piers 64, 67 and 70 that blend public access with the creation of terrestrial and aquatic habitats that will enhance and revive resiliency and ecological vitality in the area.

Working with the public to develop an ecological, community-centered park, concepts were developed that employ natural processes in riverbank stabilization and innovative wave energy dissipation to ensure a resilient waterfront for years to come.

Comparing designs that consider pier reconstruction, vegetation and habitat, McLaren and the project team reviewed the costs associated with designs with a linear or curvature boardwalk that connect the various piers, and a deep breakwater verse a wave screen and upland habitat. All designs were developed to provide a nature-based public space with an elegant framework, robust ecology and access for all.

Park Inspection + Coastal Analysis

McLaren performed underwater inspections to review the existing conditions and investigated whether any part of the failing pier could be salvaged for the waterfront habitat and urban park. The investigation found that most of the structures inspected were in severe or critical condition and due to their current state, current public access wasn’t recommended.

McLaren reviewed high-tide effects of the piers today, in 45 years and in 60 years with sea-level rise to analyze the impact of the various design will have on the city. The piers were also analyzed for a 100-year storm event, a 500-year storm event, as well as the effects on the area of a 100-year storm 60 years from now.

Resiliency Planning in South Philadelphia

With current public access hindrance, the degrading piers could promote sediment deposition and attenuate wind and wakes from north and south of the piers, thus improving resiliency. So, McLaren suggested leaving the piers to degrade over time, as it could support resiliency and native habitat in the future. Other alternatives like pier in-place maintenance were reviewed and didn’t appear feasible for the expected lifespan of the proposed improvements. Demolition of the existing structures or partial demolition with substructure improvements were suggested as the best path.

Coastal Study

McLaren performed a limited coastal study to investigate the wave action within the pier area.  Due to the existing shallow depths found, McLaren expects the site to have low to moderate wave heights and negligible current influence closer to shore where wetland habitats are proposed. Wave attenuators can include breakwaters, sill, wooden planks between pilings of boardwalk, mussel reefs or coir logs. A combination of these to protect different areas across the site would be ideal and more fun.

What’s Next for South Wetlands Park

The next phase of this wetlands park is design, engineering and funding of the project.

Philadelphia, PA
Year Completed
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Image Credit for Images 1-5, 7, 9-12: Olin