Blue Island, IL

NuStar Blue Island Terminal


The Blue Island marine oil terminal is located on the north shore of the Calumet-Sag Channel, 20 mi south of Chicago. The existing wharf structure consists of two river barges sunk in-place in the mid-1950s. The steel barges are filled with gravel and concrete ballast and topped with a concrete slab to provide an even walking and driving surface. In the early 2000s, steel H-piles were driven along the waterside to prevent the barges from drifting into the channel. SGH performed an initial condition assessment of the existing steel and concrete wharf structures and designed repairs and upgrades.

SGH performed a condition assessment of the existing steel barges, concrete deck surface, and existing steel H-pile/wale system, and measured the gage of steel barge structure to assess whether they experienced any significant section loss. We evaluated design options to bring the wharf structure back to serviceable condition and designed improvements. Highlights of our work included the following:

  • Designing a combination sheet pile system to retain the barges
  • Designing a steel-framed structure and foundations to support a new jib crane and anchorage of the crane to the steel frame
  • Developing site design criteria, including geotechnical, water elevation, flood, rain, wave and current, wind, and seismic conditions; performing a mooring/berthing analysis for a range of vessels; and designing foundations for new mooring points
  • Advising on containment requirements for petroleum fuel product hose transfer operations
  • Coordinating with local regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Soil and Water Conservation District, and Metropolitan Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation
Infrastructure & Transportation
NuStar Energy LP | Sunoco LP
Specialized Capabilities
Seismic Engineering | Repair & Strengthening | Marine & Civil Works | Geotechnical

Key team members

William Bruin
William Bruin
Structural Engineering Division Head, San Francisco Bay Area