Progreso Pier

Seventy five years ago it was decided to construct a pier into the Gulf of Mexico to allow the import and export of material to and from the Yucatán Peninsula. Nickel-containing stainless steel reinforcing bar was specified. A recent ISO-consistent peer-reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) shows that the selection of stainless steel—in place of the usual carbon steel—has been a productive investment for Mexico and the least demanding on the environment.

In 1969 a much smaller pier (left) was built using carbon steel rebar alongside the 1941 Progreso Pier (right). The 1969 pier did not stand the test of time. Even though they were conveniently located beside each other and shared the same aggressive environment of saline waters, high humidity and extremes of temperature (and occasional hurricane-force winds and waves), diff erences in design and function made this smaller unnamed pier an inappropriate basis for comparison with Progreso Pier. The “alternative design” approach allowed total control of form and function with only a single variable: the presence or absence of nickel-containing stainless steel.

Pictures courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and the Nickel Institute.

For more information on the ISO-consistent peer-reviewed LCA, click here.

More details on the project, click here.

An LCA and LCC case study of the Pier is also available, click here.