Two DBA bridge projects in Minnesota opened to traffic recently. The St. Croix Crossing near Stillwater and the Highway 53 Relocation in Virginia. Both projects are milestones for MnDOT. The St. Croix Crossing is the first extradosed bridge in the Midwest and only the second extradosed bridge in the United States. The new Highway 53 Bridge is the tallest bridge in Minnesota.
Following a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony on the morning of Wednesday, August 2nd, the St. Croix Crossing saw its first traffic later that evening and has already alleviated traffic congestion in downtown Stillwater, as intended. The interstate project was also heralded as a noteworthy example of government cooperation by The Wall Street Journal.
After officially breaking ground just shy of two years ago, the new Highway 53 bridge opened to traffic on September 15th. A dedication ceremony was held underneath the bridge that morning with Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and Congressman Rick Nolan in attendance. In anticipation of the new bridge, the iron range quad cities of Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, and Mountain Iron held a four-day, multi-event festive, Bridge Daze, in August.
A lot has changed from a year ago at the TH 53 Bridge sight near Virginia, Minnesota. This time last year, the design-phase test pile program was wrapping up with three Statnamic load tests and we had just completed our initial geologic field investigation. Since then, significant excavation, rockfall protection, and foundation work has been completed. During summer and fall of 2015, DBA worked closely with contractors Hoover Construction and Pacific Blasting to maintain rockfall protection throughout the East Abutment and Pier 1 (East Pier) excavation process. Official ground breaking occurred last November and foundation work started shortly after. A total of 32, 30-in micropile foundations have been installed by Veit Specialty Contracting and Kiewet Infrastructure has completed a temporary causeway across the massive Rouchleau Pit by placing over 300,000 cubic yards of fill.
With the foundations of both piers complete, and the pier towers are starting to rise up, where they will carry the bridge deck 200 ft above. The abutments are also taking shape with rock bearing concrete footings now poured on both sides of the pit. The only foundation work left is to install tieback anchors at the East Abutment, which will reduce the lateral loading of the tall piers. This bridge is going to get packed with cars once it´s completed, that means there´s going to be lots of accidents. It´s not a bad idea to call One Sure Insurance to get covered before all that.
In a little over a year, the bridge is scheduled to open to traffic. You can keep track of the progress through the project web cam.
TH 53 Bridge, artistic rendering courtesy of MnDOT
The official groundbreaking for the Trunk Highway (TH) 53 Bridge and Relocation Project occurred last week at the project site in Virginia, Minnesota. The bridge, which is the main element of the project, will span the Rouchleau Iron Ore Mine Pit. The project is scheduled to be completed in a brisk two years in order to allow for mining where a section of TH 53 is currently located. Upon completion the 1,100-foot long bridge will be Minnesota’s highest, with the roadway sitting approximately 330 feet above the bottom of the floor of the Rouchleau Pit. Kiewit was selected as the general contractor for the project with Veit Specialty Contracting as the foundation contractor.
Foundation construction will start in late November or early December with the installation of 30-inch diameter micropile foundations for the western pier of the three span, steel plate girder bridge. Although the foundation work is just about to get started, DBA has been hard at work on the project for over a year. DBA first got involved as a consultant to MnDOT for the design-phase load test program conducted last fall. Since then, DBA was contracted as the geotechnical engineer of record for the project. Working with bridge designer Parsons, DBA designed the bridge foundations, an anchored abutment, and rockfall hazard mitigation systems for this geologically challenging site. DBA has also analyzed several soil and rock slopes to verify stability of the bridge and roadway.
Most recently, some of us were on site to inspect some of the rockfall protection elements on the east side of the mine pit. Last week we spent two days climbing and repelling a on a portion of the eastern highwall, which is currently covered in rockfall protection drapery. The drapery was installed for the protection of workers excavating rock for the eastern bridge pier. The drapery was installed by Pacific Blasting in association with Hoover Construction. Some pictures from our drapery inspection visit are below.
John and Paul provide some scale to this picture as they work their way down the drapery.
John concentrating as he inspects the drapery seam as he decends.
Contributed by Rob Saunders, P.E. – DBA
DBA has been working on an exciting new project currently under construction in downtown Sacramento, California: the new Sacramento Arena, known as the Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC). The ESC will be a multi-use, publicly owned indoor arena. The Sacramento Kings will be the primary tenant and the arena is expected to host other indoor sports and music concerts, as well. Once completed, the ESC will replace Sleep Train Arena as the home of the Kings. According to Kings Chairman Vivek Ranadive, the 17,500-seat arena will be “one of the most iconic structures on the planet … It’s going to put Sacramento on the world map.”
Turner Construction is the head of development for the new arena. Malcolm Drilling Company was awarded the contract to design and construct the foundation system. DBA worked closely with Malcolm to design Omega piles (a drilled and grouted displacement pile) to serve as the foundations for the new arena. The site presented unique design challenges, including liquefiable soil conditions and existing deep foundations from the demolished portion of the Downtown Plaza.
DBA’s design incorporates 18” and 24” Omega piles. An extensive site-specific load test program was performed to determine the axial resistances of the piles. Eight test piles were instrumented with strain gauges to measure the load distribution in the piles. Supplemental cone penetration testing was performed following load testing to better correlate the load test results with the subsurface conditions.
The piles were designed to resist ground motions from seismic events using site-specific ground curvature data developed by Pacific Engineering and Analysis. The piles were designed to resist the curvature at the anticipated pile section with only a single center reinforcing bar, eliminating the need to extend the entire cage to the bottom of the pile. This detail in the design is very important to ease the pile installation for the site conditions.
The final design incorporates a total of 952 piles to support the arena structure (346 18” dia. Piles and 606 24” dia. piles). The new arena is estimated to cost $477 million, with $255 million of that being funded by the City of Sacramento. The rest of the arena ($222 million) will be funded by the Sacramento Kings. Construction began October 29, 2014 and is planned to be completed by October of 2016.
Last spring, DBA conducted a construction phase load test program for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers floodwall improvement project along the Missouri River in Kansas City, Kansas. Located on property owned and maintained by the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the BPU floodwall was slated for structural improvements including a series of buttresses founded on 24-in drilled shafts. As part of the project contract a load test program performed under the direction of a qualified P.E. and D.GE was required. General contractor L.G. Barcus & Sons, Inc., secured our Paul Axtell, P.E., D.GE as the qualified load test expert. DBA teamed up with load testing subcontractor Applied Foundation Testing, Inc., to perform the static load tests.
The load test program requirements included three test shafts, a statically loaded axial test shaft, a statically loaded lateral test shaft, and a combined statically loaded axial and lateral test shaft. The required combined lateral and axial test shaft provided some unique challenges with respect to applying the loads and collecting data. As can be seen in the picture above, the axial load was applied using dead weights.
We have added selected pictures from this unique project to our web albums, which can be viewed here.
A pioneer of the deep foundations industry has recently passed. Charles J. Berkel, 88, Chairman of the Board and Founder of Berkel & Company, one of the largest piling contractors in the U.S., passed away November 4, 2013. From DFI:
Berkel graduated from the University of Illinois in 1946 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. A year later he began his career in deep foundation construction working for Intrusion-Prepakt in Chicago. While there he was the project engineer for the first commercial project supported on ACIP piles in the U.S. In 1959 he resigned from Prepakt and started his own company, Berkel & Company Contractors, specializing in pressure grouting and the installation of Auger Pressure Grouted (APG) piles. Over the decades, he grew the company to become one of the largest piling contractors in the U.S.
Funeral services were held Friday, November 8, 2013, in Lenexa, Kan. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Berkel’ s name to the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, Kan., the Sister Servants of Mary, Kansas City, Kan., or Sacred Heart Church in Shawnee, Kan.
Mr. Berkel was a Charter Member of Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), Berkel was the recipient of the 2007 DFI Distinguished Service Award, and a major donor to the DFI Educational Trust Scholarship Program.
You can read more about Mr. Berkel here.
Here is a blast from the past on pile groups: NCHRP Report 461 – Static and Dynamic Lateral Loading of Pile Groups. I had a request for this report recently, so I found it and figured we needed to post the links to it. Dan was the lead researcher on this report during his time at Auburn University, and had an all-star line up that included Dr. Mike O’Neill and Dr. Mike McVay, two of the heavy hitters in foundation engineering. The report introduction gives a good summary of the contents:
A key concern of bridge engineers is the design and performance of pile group foundations under lateral loading events,
such as ship or ice impacts and earthquakes. This report documents a research program in which the following were developed:
(1) a numerical model to simulate static and dynamic lateral loading of pile groups, including structural and soil hysteresis and energy dissipation through radiation; (2) an analytical soil model for nonlinear unit soil response against piles (i.e., p-y curves) for dynamic loading and simple factors (i.e., p-multipliers) to permit their use in modeling groups of piles; (3) experimental data obtained through static and dynamic testing of large-scale pile groups in various soil profiles; and (4) preliminary recommendations for expressions for p-y curves, damping factors, and p-multipliers for analysis of laterally loaded pile groups for design purposes. The report also describes experimental equipment for performing site-specific, static, and dynamic lateral load tests on pile groups.
Several full-scale field tests were conducted on pile groups of 6 to 12 piles, both bored and driven, in relatively soft cohesive and cohesionless soils. All of the groups were loaded laterally statically to relatively large deflections, and groups of instrumented pipe piles were also loaded dynamically to large deflections, equivalent to deflections that might be suffered in major ship impact and seismic events. Dynamic loading was provided by a series of impulses of increasing magnitude using a horizontally mounted Statnamic device.
For a relatively short (50 pages) report, there is a lot of information packed into it gleaned from a lot of full-scale field work.
The Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) has announced the publication of two new deep foundation reference manuals. Excerpts from the announcement for both manuals are below. Both manuals are available for order using this form or on-line at this link.
Guideline for Interpretation of Nondestructive Integrity Testing of Augered Cast-in-Place and Drilled Displacement Piles
DFI Augered Cast-In-Place Pile Committee (2011-2012) Chaired by Michael Moran
Tracy Brettmann, Principal Author; Bernard Hertlein, Matthew Meyer, Bria Whitmire, Co-Authors
(Image from DFI)
This guideline provides practical guidance for the interpretation of nondestructive testing (NDT) of the integrity of augered cast-in-place (ACIP) and drilled displacement (DD) piles. … This guideline supplements DFI’s two primary publications on ACIP piles: Augered Cast-in-Place Pile Manual (2003) and the Inspector’s Guide for Augered Cast-in-Place Piles (2010). This guideline was developed to provide 1) more detailed explanations of the various test methods available, 2) guidance on interpretation of the results, and 3) some typical examples of the data and interpretation.
Seismic and Lateral Load Design and Testing Guidelines
DFI Seismic and Lateral Loads Committee (2011-2012)
Chaired by Mark Petersen and Zia Zafir (2003-2009)
Robert Kruger, Guideline Editor
This guidance document is intended to assist geotechnical engineers, pile designers, and contractors in analysis, design, and testing of piles and drilled shafts for lateral loads. … … This document discusses the background of different analytical and testing procedures and presents the recommended methods for analysis, design and testing of piles for lateral loads.
Our own Tim Siegel, P.E., G.E., D.GE. was one of a handful of people invited to submit papers for the recently published Geotechnical Special Publication (GSP) No. 227: Full-Scale Testing and Foundation Design (Honoring Bengt H. Fellenius). Tim’s paper is on testing of augered cast-in-place piles. Four piles were installed with varying auger rotations and then load tested in axial compression to evaluate the effect auger rotation on the axial behavior of the piles.
Siegel, T.C. (2012). “Testing of Augered Cast-in-Place Piles installed with Varying Auger Rotations”, Full-Scale Testing and Foundation Design, Honoring Bengt H. Fellenius, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 227, Edited by M.H. Hussein, K. R. Massarsch, G.E. Likins, and R.D. Holtz, ASCE, pp333-348.