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The most severe load on piers generally is the horizontal load due to berthing and mooring of large vessels. The design of piers is taken as an example to illustrate the importance of adequate pile founding level. Since the widths of open berth piers are relatively small so that they provide a short lever arm to counteract the moment induced by berthing loads.
Moreover, the dead load of open berth piers are normally quite light and therefore the resisting moment provided by the dead load of pier structures may not be sufficient to counteract the moment generated by berthing loads. To aid in providing adequate resistance to the overturning moment by the berthing load, the soil resistance above bedrock contributes to the stabilizing moment. For commonly adopted marine piling type, i.e. driven steel tubular piles with reinforced concrete infill, driven piles can at most be founded on top of rockhead surface. In case the rockhead level is shallow (e.g. near shoreline), the little soil cover may result in inadequate lateral resistance to the berthing load.
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