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Capital Wheel at National Harbor, MD


The Challenge:

Provide a design that would support a 175’ observation wheel over an existing pier. The real challenge came in that no additional pilings or other support elements could be installed in the waterway as decreed by the authorities having jurisdiction.


Our Solutions:

After careful planning and using divers to assess the conditions of the existing piles supporting the pier, the resulting design used a network of galvanized structural steel grillage that efficiently and effectively transferred the horizontal and vertical wheel loads to the existing piles without exceeding the capacity of the piles.


The Results:

This unique design allowed the progression of a monumental project that would otherwise be abandoned or relocated. The wheel proudly stands off the shore of the Potomac river, providing a true landmark for the surrounding region. The design engineers periodically visit the project site to inspect the steel grillage to ensure that corrosion and other conditions are not impacting the integrity of the support system.


Services Provided:

Structural Engineering – Design of foundation for the observation wheel over an existing waterfront pier.

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