US Navy constructs unique pier

U.S. Navy units started the construction of the Elevated Causeway System – Modular (ELCAS-M) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Norfolk, April 17.

The ELCAS-M system serves as an expeditionary pier system that can be transported and erected in critical areas where port facilities and existing pier systems are damaged or non-existent.

“There is only one ELCAS-M system in the Navy, and we maintain it here at PHIBCB 2,” said Senior Chief Equipment Operator William Haynes, Operations Chief of PHIBCB 2.

The system can be built out to a length of 3,000 feet and consists of a beach ramp, elevated roadway, and pier head. Once assembled, the pier head has two cranes and two turntables providing a means to conduct on-loading and off-loading from various connectors and logistics support vessels without contending with the surf zone.

What makes the ELCAS-M unique is that it eliminates the surf zone variables that would otherwise impede craft operations by extending past the surf zone into waters deep enough to handle larger craft employed during assault follow-on echelon (AFOE) or humanitarian assistance/disaster recovery (HA/DR) operations. The pier’s length also allows operations to run independent of tides, increasing logistics throughput capability to the beach.

ELCAS-M construction is scheduled to go through May 6. From May 10-14, Naval Beach Group 2 and the U.S. Army 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) will conduct a mini-joint logistics over-the-shore (JLOTS) exercise at Anzio Beach, JEB Little Creek, which will include throughput operations utilizing the elevated pier system.