Category Archives: Load Testing

World Record O-Cell Load Test in St. Louis, MO!

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DBA was part of foundation engineering and construction history while participating in a drilled shaft load test for the New I-70 Mississippi River Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri.  A new O-cell world record of 36,000 tons (bi-directional) was achieved on the test, besting the former record of just under 32,000 tons set in 2005 in Korea (see here).

The test shaft was built by MTA (a joint venture of Massman/Traylor Brothers/Alberici Constructors) as part of an Alternative Technical Concept (ATC) that MTA submitted in their winning bid.   During the bid phase, the owner allowed ATC’s to be submitted by pre-qualified teams.  These ATC’s were unique to the team that submitted them (e.g., each team was allowed to submit their own ATC’s if they desired, but the ATC’s were not shared amongst all the teams).  DBA worked with MTA to develop an ATC that optimized the drilled shaft foundations shown in the “baseline” drawings provided by the owner.  That ATC provided a more economical foundation solution that was accepted, bid, and awarded (note MTA also had the option of bidding the “baseline” drawings as-is).  A full-scale load test on a dedicated test shaft using the Osterberg Cell (O-cell) test method was included in the ATC to: 1) prove the design values used for the resistance in the rock socket; and (2) take advantage of higher resistance factors for using a load tests as opposed to only calculations.  The baseline drawings did not include a load test.

Loadtest, Inc. performed the load test.  The bottom-up static load test applied slightly greater than 36,000 tons (bi-directional) to the shaft resulting in about 1/8in of upward movement of the shaft and about the same magnitude of downward displacement at the base.  The rock socket was about 23ft deep and 11ft in diameter in very hard limestone.  Four 34in O-cells placed at the base of the shaft were loaded to 150% of their rated capacity to achieve the record load.

UPDATE (8/4/10): The bridge was featured in the July 2010 issue of Civil Engineering magazine from ASCE in the “News” section.  Follow the link below and then go to Page 30.

Civil Engineering July 2010

UPDATE (8/17/10): Press Release from MTA (contractor joint venture).

UPDATE (8/18/10): ENR.com Article

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Geo-Florida 2010 Papers posted

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Papers by Dan, Steve, and Tim that were included in the GeoFlorida 2010 conference have been uploaded to our Publications page.  Dan and Steve co-authored a paper on the test program of the base grouted drilled shafts for the Audubon Bridge.  Tim co-authored a paper with Willie NeSmith of Berkel and Company Contractors, Inc. on plate load testing of displacement grout columns.  Dan was also a co-author with several others on a paper on jet grouting for improved pile lateral capacity.

 

Dapp, S.D. and Brown, D.A. (2010). “Evaluation of Base Grouted Drilled Shafts at the Audubon Bridge”, GeoFlorida 2010, Advances in Analysis, Modeling and Design, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 199, ASCE, pp1553-1562.

Rollins, K.M., Herbst, M., Adsero, M. and Brown, D.A. (2010) “Jet Grouting and Soil Mixing for Increased Lateral Pile Group Resistance”, GeoFlorida 2010, Advances in Analysis, Modeling and Design, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 199, ASCE, pp1563-1572.

Siegel, T.C. and NeSmith, W.M. (2010). “Large-Scale Plate Load Testing of Ground Improvement Using Displacement Grout Columns”, GeoFlorida 2010, Advances in Analysis, Modeling and Design, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 199, ASCE, pp2398-2405.

Driven Piles for New Orleans Levee Projects – Wrap Up

Our support of Kiewit Engineering and two Kiewit joint ventures working on the flood control projects around New Orleans has completed.  As part of our comprehensive hydration solution, we also want you to read the reviews to our water cooler machines. I posted on the support work we provided for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway – West Closure Project here.  The JV for that project is Gulf Intracoastal Constructors (GIC), a joint venture of Kiewit and Traylor Brothers.

Another project we worked on is the Chalmette Levee Loop Improvements LPV-145 project.  The joint venture for this project is Chalmette Levee Constructors (CLC), a joint venture of Kiewit, Massman, and Traylor Brothers.  Some information about the project can be found at Traylor Brothers website here.  This project consists of building over 5 miles of T-wall on the levee.  A test pile program with piles at 4 tests sites was completed, including static and dynamic tests on H-piles and open-ended pipe piles.  Dynamic, static compression, and static tension tests were performed at 3 of the 4 sites.  One site had only dynamic tests during driving.  Our newest staff engineer, Aaron Hudson begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, started his tenure at DBA by heading to New Orleans to help me with our work on this project.

During the test pile program, the project location was accessible only by boat.  A temporary bridge has been constructed over Bayou Bienvenue to provide better access.  The bridge is a pre-engineered bridge kit similar to the Bailey Bridge sets used by the U.S. Army starting in WWII, and still in use today by the Army and the private sector all over the world.  I had some experience as an Army Engineer officer planning and executing the assembly and launch of Bailey Bridges.  In the Army labor is plentiful, so there are not near as many cranes and other equipment available when assembling a bridge kit as there are on a modern construction site.  Compare this photo from a training exercise near Fort Polk, Louisiana in 1989 (from my Army days) with one in our show below and at the website of the current Bailey Bridge manufacturer.

 

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I have posted some photos from our visits there to our Picassa Albums (linked below).  There are pictures of the test piles and the temporary bridge.  Also included are some photos I took of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Barrier project.  This project is amazing with 66-inch diameter cylinder piles and 18” pre-stressed concrete piles making up the bulk of the structure. Project photos at the Corps of Engineers site are here.

 

Update 7/25/10: Webcams of the West Closure Project are here.  The Corps’ Team New Orleans has a Flickr page here with lots of great photos.

 

 

DBA on successful St. Louis Bridge team

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DBA is on the successful team that was awarded the contract for the new Mississippi River Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri.  The project is a joint project of MoDOT/IDOT with MoDOT being the lead agency.  HNTB is the lead bridge designer for the new cable-stayed bridge carrying I-70 over the river.  The bridge is one part of a larger project that also includes the Missouri North I-70 Interchange, the Illinois I-70 Connection, and the Illinois Tri-level Exchange.

From the project web site:

The $640 million Mississippi River Bridge project is proceeding through design, with construction scheduled to start in early 2010. The new Mississippi River Bridge is the first bridge built connecting downtown St. Louis and southwestern Illinois in more than 40 years. Currently, the only urban interstate bridge between Illinois and Missouri is the Poplar Street Bridge, known locally as the PSB. The PSB is one of two bridges in the United States that carry three interstates. By relocating one interstate (I-70) from the Poplar Street Bridge to the new Mississippi River Bridge, drivers will experience less congestion, fewer crashes and less unnecessary fuel use.

The new Mississippi River Bridge will be a 1,500 foot cable-stayed bridge across the Mississippi River between Metro East and St. Louis, Missouri. The bridge is two lanes in each direction, but is wide enough to be restriped for three lanes in each direction if traffic volumes warrant and additional funding is secured. In addition, the bridge project includes approaches on the Illinois and Missouri sides to get traffic to the bridge.

The wining contractor team is Massman/Traylor Brothers/Alberici Constructors.  DBA’s role was to help prepare an alternate concept for the drilled shaft foundation design which will include load test measurements.  We anticipate construction to begin in March with load test shaft.

An overview of the bridge is here.  The press release for the award of the main bridge is here.

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Characterization of Loess for Deep Foundations

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I have added a recent paper that Dan and Steve contributed to concerning loess that is in the November, 2009 issue of the DFI Journal.  The paper describes the results of site investigation and laboratory tests at a site in Kansas with loess deposits.  The effectiveness of various correlations between field and laboratory tests and design properties are evaluated.  Steve is currently working on the follow-up paper that evaluates lateral load tests of drilled shafts at the site.

Parson, R.L., Johnson, R.M., Brown, D.A., Dapp, S.D., and Brennan, J.J., 2009. “Characterization of Loess for Deep Foundations”, DFI Journal Volume 3, No. 2, November 2009, Deep Foundations Institute, pp14-24.

Video: Lateral Load Test with Statnamic Device

One area of work we are frequently involved in is data analysis and evaluation of lateral load tests performed by the Statnamic testing device (learn more at the website of Applied Foundation Testing).  The mathematics involved in the data reduction can be quite formidable as you interpret the dynamic load-response to an equivalent static load-response.  Regardless of the math behind it, watching a test can be pretty cool.  It is a whole lot of work for a brief moment of load, but in some situations it can be more economical than a traditional load test. 

The video below is from a test on 170-foot long, 32-inch outside diameter steel pipe pile with 0.75"-inch wall thickness.  The pile was filled with concrete that included an instrumented rebar cage.

Enjoy!