Form Meets Function in Portsmouth
As part of its revitalization, the New Hampshire City of Portsmouth sought improved public access to its historic harbor, along with enhanced storm surge resistance and coastal resiliency. Prior to this upgrade, Portsmouth had limited downtown public access and in-demand views of the harbor.
A Striking Solution
An elegant but functional engineering design transformed a former parking area into the lovely Harborwalk Park. This visitor destination for fabulous harbor views includes a unique overlook pier designed for longevity and storm surge resistance. The 2,400-square-foot pier extends more than 72 feet out into the Piscataqua River to offer a closer vantage point of the river’s daily activity, and a much fuller view of the harbor. Lighting and benches complete the structure that provides the community with passive recreational use.
The traditional shapes of ferry docks inspired the overlook pier triangular layout, which maximizes public space within the site constraints. In addition, the triangular layout helps resist longitudinal and lateral forces with continuous built-up side ranger beams integrated into the shoreline seawall. A reinforced concrete cap, and soil anchor tiebacks supplement these beams.
This two-phase project also included granite seawall repairs, and development of a landside park.
A Transportation Enhancement grant received from the federal government, to encourage walking in the downtown, partially funded this project.