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Elevated Causeway System (ELCAS)

The Elevated Causeway System (ELCAS) provides an interface between lighterage and shore by bridging the surf zone. Vehicles can be driven on the causeway and loaded by cranes positioned on the deck. It is assembled by joining standard causeway sections together and can be elevated or erected in 70 hours. Causeway sections can be loaded on LSTs, breakbulk ships, LASH barge ships and Seabee ships for movement.

Causeway systems provide the services with the capability to offload and backload vehicles as well as bulk and containerized cargo from sealift ships where suitable port facilities are nonexistent or otherwise denied. One of the important characteristics of the causeway system is its flexibility. Since its inception in World War II, the causeway system has been used for wharves, docks, floating and elevated piers, lighters, tugs, special-duty barges, and as interface platforms between ships and other watercraft.

The importance of transferring cargo ashore effectively during LOTS operations cannot be overemphasized. The elevated causeway system (ELCAS) is one of the most important items of equipment for conducting shoreside cargo discharge operations. The ELCAS can deliver containers, certain vehicles, and bulk cargo ashore without the lighterage having to contend with the surf zone.

However, there are potential problems that may affect ELCAS operations. High surf and increased winds can reduce the stability of the ELCAS and hinder its ability to support cargo being discharged. ELCAS operations are reduced significantly when crosscurrents approach 1 knots, wave heights are 3 feet or more, or winds are in excess of 20 knots. Another problem identified in previous LOTS operations is difficulty in transferring containers at the beach with some lighterage. For example, in order for an ELCAS 140-ton crane to unload all containers from a fully loaded LCU-2000 (landing craft, utility) the LCU must change positions so the crane can reach its outermost containers. Also, because of a problem in its design, a logistics support vessel cannot discharge containers onto an ELCAS unless the vessel is positioned very precisely by shifting from port to starboard and then starboard to port.

Elevated Causeway Navy Lightered (ELCAS-NL))

The elevated causeway pier facility (ELCAS) provides a link between lighterage and the beach by bridging the surf zone. The ELCAS provides a semi-permanent pier for the off-loading of JLOTS cargo in an otherwise unimproved beach. Transported in sections, the ELCAS is takes approximately 4 days to assemble (including driving piles) before it is ready to sustain operations.

The standard ELCAS consists of six 3x15 approach or roadway sections and six 3x15 pierhead sections. The pierhead is two sections wide by three sections long. Since the facility is modular, it may be expanded by enlarging the pierhead and/or adding approach sections. The basic component of the ELCAS is the 3 x 15 intermediate causeway section that is converted to the elevating mode by the addition of spudwells. Spudwells provide the attachment between the causeway deck and the supporting piling. Internal spudwells are used where the full width of the causeway section is required for traffic and to support the fender piles along the fender side of the pierhead. The internal spudwell incorporates four grooved connection pins that are inserted into four receiver boxes attached to the side of the causeway. Two guillotines are lowered into the pin grooves behind the receiver boxes to secure the spudwell to the section. A steel-angled locking key is used to lock the guillotine into place.

In the '70s, the Navy originally invested in a hydraulic system known as the ELCAS (Navy Lighterage). This system is still available to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1, but it's an older system. They don't use that system anymore.

Elevated Causeway System (Modular) ( ELCAS(M) )

Logistics support of Marine Corps or Joint Service Expeditionary Forces requires timely delivery of supplies to meet consumption and stockpile requirements. Heavy reliance is placed on U.S. flag commercial shipping, where ships are designed to be loaded and unloaded in ports with extensive facilities. These ships provide the primary means of resupply to forces ashore, even where port facilities are damaged or non-existent. The ELCAS (M) was developed to help meet that requirement.

The ELCAS (M) system serves as a portable pier system that can be transported in one container ship. It is intended to facilitate the on-loading and off-loading of cargo vessels during emergencies. The ELCAS (M) system is composed of a beach ramp, elevated roadway, and pierhead which in turn may be composed of modular pontoons. The elevated roadway and pierhead is anchored to the sea bottom by pilings.

By 1985 there were plans to produce seven units by FY-90.

Request for proposals (RFP) No. N47408-89-R-2024 was issued by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command for a modular elevated causeway (ELCAS (M)) system. This solicitation was issued on September 6, 1990, on a firm, fixed-price basis and was a reprocurement of a defaulted contract which was awarded to Fairey Marine Ltd. in 1986 and terminated in 1989. The closing date for receipt of proposals was extended to January 17, 1991. The procurement was for the design, construction, successful testing, and delivery of a prototype 3,000-foot ELCAS (M) system with an option to order production items. The solicitation required the successful contractor to conduct a contractor demonstration test at a Norfolk, Virginia site. Several proposals were subsequently received by the revised closing date.

On December 10, 1990, prior to the closing date for receipt of proposals, Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation filed a protest objecting to certain terms of the solicitation. In its initial protest submission, Todd contended that the solicitation requirement that the contractor demonstration test be performed only at the Little Creek Amphibious Base in Norfolk, Virginia, was unduly restrictive and discriminated against West Coast offerors like Todd since the Coronado Base in San Diego, California, was just as convenient and adequate to support the demonstration test. Todd maintained that both locations were equally suited and zoned for "waterborne beach assault," and that competition would be enhanced by allowing the demonstration at both locations.

GAO reviewed Todd's allegations and found them to be without merit. The ELCAS (M) is intended for worldwide use under a variety of adverse geological and oceanographic conditions. The Virginia site was chosen because it is considered the best test environment for demonstration of the ELCAS (M) - as it is more representative of the realities of international installation sites in terms of weather, surf conditions, and soil conditions. The conditions at the Norfolk, Virginia site are more difficult than at the Coronado site, and if the ELCAS (M) performed well in Norfolk, it will most likely meet the agency's needs anywhere in the world. It was less costly to the government to provide the Norfolk site because the demonstration test required the use of a Transport Auxiliary Crane Ship to be provided by the government which was readily available in the Norfolk area. To provide this ship for the Coronado area would cost approximately $500,000 because the ship would have to travel from either Portland, Oregon, or Tacoma, Washington, remain on station during the entire test, and return.

The first production item was delivered to the Fleet in 1995. The completed 3,000-foot modular Elevated Causeway [ELCAS(M)] was delivered in early FY 1998.

The Elevated Causeway System, Modular (ELCAS-M) is an expeditionary pier facility for use where port facilities are damaged or nonexistent, or where surf conditions preclude direct discharge of cargo and equipment ashore. ELCAS (M) provides the capability to off-load containers from lighters beyond the surf zone to shore via wheeled vehicles on the elevated roadway.

ELCAS (M) is a new design which provides significantly greater ease, safety, and felixbilty during construction. Also, the modular disign is International Organization for Standardization (ISO) cmpattible providing more transport options.

The Rapidly Installable Pier Facility is delivered via Container Ship, with 7 days installation time. It is 3,000 Ft Length, 24 ft wide. The delivery method is Lightage via pier crane ship pierside via ramps. It is ISO Modular-Transportable on Container Ships. One container ship can carry a complete 3,000 ft ELCAS(M) facility. Construction is performed above the water. Cantilever construction process eliminates the need to work from floating platforms in the surf zone. Also eliminates the need for the high maintenance hydraulic jacking assembly.

Amphibious Construction Battalion (PHIBCB) 2 tested the new temporary floating pier, called Elevated Causeway (Modular)(ELCAS-M), that enables trucks to deliver containerized cargo from a ship to shore up to a distance of 1,500 feet. The longest length previously had been 760 feet. The test was conducted 20 September 1996.

The older ELCAS system, which had been in use since the 1970s, and is used by Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, required heavy lift ships to move, and must have proper sea conditions for safe installation. The new system was developed to overcome these two disadvantages. Its modular configuration of small pontoons allows it to be transported by container ship. The new $50 million pier system uses 8 foot by 40 foot modular pontoon sections that are off-loaded from a ship to form barges, which are then used to transport additional pontoons, vehicles and equipment to shore.

Assembly of the pier starts from the shore outward by connecting the causeway sections as they are elevated above the surf zone. Two cranes and two turntables are then installed on the pier. Once completed, the system is capable of handling two-way tractor-trailer traffic.

When the Navy needs to get supplies ashore and there is no port, Navy Seabees will answer the call with an elevated modular causeway, or ELCAS(M), system that allows amphibious ships to unload supplies and equipment anywhere in the world. Just five years old and the only one of its kind, this causeway was the focus of both Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2 based in Little Creek, Va. and ACB 1 based in Port Hueneme, Calif., during an ELCAS(M) 2000 exercise at Little Creek Amphibious Base.

In 13 days, Seabees from both shores worked two six-hour shifts to erect the 1000-foot causeway that includes two turntables for tractor-trailer maneuverability. When necessary, the causeway can be set up in seven days with two 12-hour shifts and can extend as far as 3000 feet from shore. The formerly inaccessible shoreline can have a pier facility for as long as necessary with only a skeleton crew to maintain it. Put together like giant building blocks, the pier can accommodate two 175-ton cranes to expedite loading. The two giant turntables allow tractor-trailers to drive forward on to the pier, rotate their position for loading, then drive off, cutting down on time and space normally needed to maneuver.

ELCAS (M) West Coast Training System (WCTS) is a reduced size ELCAS (M). This ELCAS (M) WCTS consists of a 520-feet long x 24-feet wide beach ramp and roadway section (13 modules long x 3 modules wide), 160-feet long x 48-feet wide pier-head section (4 modules long x 6 modules wide), 160-feet long x 8-feet wide fender system (4 modules long x 1 module wide), lighting system, piling system (including pile bins), beach matting system, safety system and air actuated tractor-trailer turntable system and sufficient 20-foot ISO containers to contain all ELCAS (M) WCTS equipment except modular pontoons and piling. ELCAS (M) WCTS is constructed in a cantilever fashion from the beach out over the shore and beyond the surf zone without construction equipment and personnel entering the sea. ELCAS (M) WCTS is assembled from floating modular pontoons 8-feet wide x 5-feet high x 40-feet long fabricated steel construction with ISO container corners. Connectors are used to connect pontoon modules together, piling is used to support the system in the ground, turntable and ancillary and collateral equipment are used to reverse direction of the trucks.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:45:59 ZULU