As noted earlier on this blog, the Audubon Bridge opened a little bit earlier than planned. Although over a year old, an article recently came to my attention that puts a spotlight on the unique engineering and construction that went into the cofferdams for the two main bridge piers in the Mississippi River. The article is “John James Audubon Bridge Project – Cofferdam Construction for the Main Span Pier Foundations”, published in the February 2010 issue of Louisiana Civil Engineer, the Journal of the Louisiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The article’s lead author, Sereno Brown, P.E., was the construction team’s Project Engineer for the design-build project. In the article, Mr. Brown outlines the issues that led to the team selecting a pre-cast concrete cofferdam over other methods, the design methodology, and then the construction of the cofferdam. The effort posed several significant design and construction challenges, including the sequence of lowering the cofferdam into place through a set of hydraulic jacks. The entire process was truly an amazing engineering and construction feat.