GEI works with the entire development team including planners, architects, community groups, and owners to develop plans that will work best for all stakeholders and members of the community. Waterfront developments often have complex permitting requirements and a consultant that understands how to navigate the process and challenges can keep a project moving from design through construction. Our engineers evaluate existing structures and design new structures while delivering ADA compliant projects for all to enjoy.


Project Types

Integrated services including coastal engineering, geotechnical engineering, and environmental engineering and sciences allow GEI to provide complete engineering consulting for waterfront parks. Our unique ability to provide this variety of engineering and science services in-house saves our clients valuable time and money, while providing opportunities to reclaim underutilized urban sites into public open spaces, parks, and waterfronts.

Private and Commercial Mixed-Use Developments

Mixed use developments face strict and complex permitting at local, state, and federal levels. GEI works with our clients to develop plans that will comply with permitting where the water meets the land and keep their project moving forward. Developers of residential communities, hotels, and restaurants all face unique challenges to get their projects built such as allowing for public access where required and navigating FEMA mapping challenges.

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Waterfront Parks

GEI prides ourselves on our abilities to work with landscape architects and owners to fulfill the vision for a waterfront park. As part of the master planning process, GEI evaluates and solves for the impacts of sea level rise and flood elevations. While waterfront parks range in size and use, GEI understands the vital role they all play in communities and the importance of community involvement in the planning stages.

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Historic Restoration

GEI works with historic commissions and historic expert consultants to design repair solutions for historic structures that will preserve and not destroy the structure. When historic structures are identified during survey, repairs may be designed for the least amount of impact. We work with our clients to navigate the permitting process from federal and local authorities.

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Recreational Fishing Piers

Recreational piers provide public access to the waterfront and are a vital component to a community’s economic development. Recreational fishing piers may be a stand-alone project or a piece of a larger community development. Understanding the layout of the pier and how people will gain access to the waterfront while also complying with ADA requirements can be a design challenge. GEI has worked with numerous communities to successfully design, construct, inspect, and repair fishing piers.

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Waterfront Access

Access to the waterfront is made available to the public through a variety of structures including recreational piers, boardwalks, overlooks, and small boat launches such as kayaks and canoes. GEI works with our clients to design these structures to be resilient and withstand storms and floods while balancing the public’s accessibility to the waterfront. Softer design elements such as living shorelines provide protection from foot traffic and erosion.

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Boardwalks and Overlooks

Boardwalks and overlooks serve as a link between the built environment and the shoreline providing community access to the waterfront. GEI works with our clients to achieve the goals of the community and municipality while designing for flood protection, resiliency, and minimal impacts to the community allowing individuals to enjoy the waterfront experience. We provide investigation and survey of existing structures, and design of new structures or repairs inclusive of geotechnical foundations designed for the unique conditions of marshlands and shorelines.

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Key Services

Inspection and Assessment

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GEI’s team of engineer divers specialize in waterfront structural engineering and design. We provide facility inspection and assessments which include above water and underwater structural inspections, underwater still and video photography, material testing, definition of necessary repairs, and estimation of remaining life. Our divers are all certified for FHWA – NHI Underwater Bridge Inspection. Our services include:

  • Emergency Response Assessments.
  • Above and Underwater Assessments of Structural Elements.
  • Engineering Assessment of Facility Life Expectancy.
  • Determination of Fender and Mooring System Adequacy.
  • Determination of Alternatives for Restoration or Improvement.
  • Documentation and Rating of Current Conditions.
  • Providing Program for 5-year Monitoring/Assessment with Recommendations for Maintenance and Repair.
Timber, Steel and Concrete Pier and Boardwalk Design and Repair
Bulkhead Design and Repair

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GEI’s roots are in geotechnical engineering and shoreline engineering remains a principal specialty. GEI has extensive experience in the geotechnical analysis and design of waterfront structures including bulkheads, seawalls, piles, and heavy structures. Our services include evaluation of existing bulkheads, assessment of the influence of dredging on the stability of bulkheads and channel slopes, geotechnical design of wharves and piers, design of bulkheads and retaining walls, riprap design, evaluation of granite seawalls, and sediment characterization.

Shoreline Protection Including Living Shorelines

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GEI’s staff has in-depth experience in shoreline assessment and shoreline erosion control and prevention, particularly with projects that require a large variety of techniques to stabilize eroded shorelines. GEI utilizes approaches that are more environmentally friendly, cost less to implement, and are less controversial when obtaining regulatory approvals.

ADA Compliant Design

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Waterfront facilities need to be designed for compliance with ADA regulations. Although any new design has to be ADA compliant, ADA regulations have special requirements relating to passenger vessel terminals and ferry landings, marinas, boat ramps, and fishing piers. Many of these facilities require specialized design to meet the requirements through the full tidal range. GEI has designed ferry landings for passenger vessel access for tidal ranges in excess of 12 feet.
GEI engineers routinely incorporate these requirements when appropriate and can offer an innovative approach to help clients navigate the complex constraints.

Aluminum Gangways
Small Boat Launches and Docks


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