Category Archives: Slope Stability

Ground Breaking of New TH 53 Bridge in Minnesota

TH 53 Bridge

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.

For more information about the project, click here, and for our previous blog posts on this project, click here.

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.

DBA Engineers Perform “Extreme” Geologic Investigation

DBA engineers prepare to go over the edge of the 200-ft tall west wall of the Rouchleau mine pit with the load test site in the background. From left to right: David Graham, Nathan Glinski, Ryan Turner, and Paul Axtell
DBA engineers prepare to go over the edge of the 200-ft tall west wall of the Rouchleau mine pit with the load test site in the background. From left to right: David Graham, Nathan Glinski, and Paul Axtell (far right).

DBA is currently working with structural designer Parsons to design what will be Minnesota’s tallest bridge.  The bridge will span the currently inactive Rouchleau open pit iron ore mine near Virginia, Minnesota. MnDOT is moving the alignment of the existing Hwy 53 to make way for future mining in the area.  DBA is the lead geotechnical designer on the project in addition to being contracted as MnDOT’s load test expert for the ongoing design phase load test program.

As part of our site investigation to gather information on rock fall and the site geology, five DBA engineers (John Turner, Paul Axtell, Tim Siegel, Nathan Glinksi, and David Graham) got up close and personal with the site by rappelling off the near vertical cut faces on either side of the Rouchleau pit! Traversing the over 200-ft tall cut faces of the nearly 2-billion year Biwabik Formation rock formation by rope and harness, we collected valuable geologic data.  We also took some great pictures like the ones posted to our Google Photos account.  In addition to the still pictures, we took some videos of a few rock fall tests, which are on our YouTube channel.

If you would like to know more about this interesting project on Minnesota’s Iron Range, you can check out our project summary sheet, visit MnDOT’s project page, or stay tuned to this blog for more updates.  There is also an online article about the project that was recently published by Civil Engineering Magazine.

Geofoam and Slope Stability

A recent TRB E-newsletter (4/2/2013) was spotlighted by Randy Post (aka RockMan) at Geoprac.net.  The newsletter was about the publication in January of Research Results Digest 380: Guidelines for Geofoam Applications in Slope Stability Projects.

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Results Digest 380: Guidelines for Geofoam Applications in Slope Stability Projects explores the use of expanded polystyrene-block geofoam for slope stabilization projects. For the purpose of the report, slope stabilization projects include new roadways as well as repair of existing roadways that have been damaged by slope instability or slope movement.

The research was performed by the Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Memphis (UoM). David Arellano, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at UoM, was the Project Director. The other project investigators were Timothy D. Stark, Professor and Consulting Engineer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; John S. Horvath, Consulting Engineer and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Manhattan College; and Dov Leshchinsky, President of ADAMA Engineering, Inc., and Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware.

The digest is a summary of the NCHRP Project 24-11(02), “Guidelines for Geofoam Applications in Slope Stability Projects.”

This report presents the results of a study performed to develop a comprehensive document that provides both state-of-the-art knowledge and state-of-practice design guidance to facilitate the use of EPS-block geofoam for slope stabilization and repair. This report includes the following five primary research products: (1) summary of relevant engineering properties, (2) a comprehensive design guideline, (3) a material and construction standard, (4) economic data, and (5) a detailed numerical design example.

The project was initiated to develop comprehensive design guidelines for use of geofoam in slope stability applications.  According to the Digest, geofoam use is becoming more widespread in the U.S., but the adoption of it as a routine roadway construction material has been slowed by lack of design guidelines.

Although EPS-block geofoam for road construction is an established technology and despite the more than 30 years of extensive and continuing worldwide use of EPS-block geofoam, it has been underutilized in U.S. practice because a comprehensive design guideline for its use as lightweight fill in roadway embankments has been unavailable. There was, therefore, a need in the United States to develop formal and detailed design documents for use of EPS-block geofoam in roadway applications.

To learn more about the project, go here.  Click this link to download the project report.

And speaking of slopes and slides, RockMan has some posts on a recent slope failure in a copper mine in Utah and one on the WSDOT doing some rock blasting on I-90 (with cool video!).  Check them out:

WSDOT rock blasting on I-90 for Snoqualmie Pass

Bingham Canyon Slide

GeoCongress 2012–Dan Gives A SOP Lecture; John Turner paper published

GeoCongress 2012, Oakland, California

GeoCongress 2012 Proceedings

In addition to the ADSC EXPO 2012 earlier in March (see post here), the annual Geo-Institute meeting for 2012, GeoCongress 2012 , was held later in the month in Oakland, California.  The conference featured a very large technical program with a variety of tracks covering geotechnical engineering topics.  There were also the annual named lectures (Terzaghi, Peck, etc.) and other special events. Randy Post wrote about his time at the GeoCongress at his blog, GeoPrac.net.  Check out all of his posts on the conference, including photos and video.

A key feature of this congress was the State of the Art (SOA) and State of the Practice (SOP) Lectures given throughout the four days.  Thirty prominent engineers were invited to give the SOA/SOP lectures.  Dan gave one of the SOP lectures with his highlighting advances in drilled foundation use and selection. His paper, along with all of the other SOA/SOP lectures, is included in GSP No. 226, Geotechnical Engineering State of the Art and Practice, Keynote Lectures from GeoCongress 2012.  His presentation is linked on the image below.

Pages from DB drilled foundations 2012 Oakland GI [Compatibility Mode]

 

During the regular technical sessions, John Turner presented a paper on a recent project case history on rock-socketed drilled shaft foundations used for a bridge . His paper is in the conference proceedings volume (GSP No. 225):

Turner, J.P., Duffy, J.D., Buell, R. and Zheng, X (2012). “Foundations for the Bridge at Pitkins Curve”, GeoCongress 2012 State of the Art and Practice in Geotechnical Engineering, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 225, ASCE, pp414-423.

Micropiles for Slope Stabilization

An article by Eric and Dan on the use of micropiles for slope stabilization has been added to our Publications Page.  Published in the August 2010 issue of Foundation Drilling Magazine, the article summarizes key findings and recommendations from a study that reviewed and evaluated existing micropile design methods.  A new design method is proposed to better predict the mobilized resistance of micropiles used for slope stabilization. The full report prepared by Eric and Dan for the joint ADSC/DFI Micropile Committee, “A Method for Predicting Mobilization Resistance for Micropiles Used in Slope Stabilization Applications”, presents the details of this study.  Robert previously posted about this report here.

Loehr, J.E. and Brown, D.A. (2010). “Design of Micropiles for Slope Stabilization”, Foundation Drilling, Vol. 31, No. 6 August 2010.

IFCEE 09 Wrap-up and Papers Posted

IFCEE09 page

Last week’s International Foundation Congress and Equipment Exposition was a huge success!  Dan gave a keynote address on Tuesday on managing risk in deep foundations within the design-build delivery model.  Paul, Erik, and I also had papers to present.  The technical sessions were excellent, the indoor exhibits were excellent, and the outdoor exhibits of foundation equipment were outstanding!  The ADSC, Geo-Institute, and PDCA were the co-organizers of the event.  A big hats off to all of the staff of all three organizations that made the event a huge success!  Thanks and “atta boy” go to Mohamad Hussein, P.E. (Conference Chair) and to Dan (Technical Program Chair) for all of their work, as well as the rest of the organizing committee.

I have also blogged about the conference here at GeoPrac.net.

Here are some pictures of the outdoor exhibits:

IFCEE09 Exhibit 1 IFCEE09 Exhibit 2 IFCEE09 Exhibit 3

There were over 300 papers included in the conference.  The proceedings were published as three Geotechnical Special Publications:

GSP 185: Contemporary Topics in Deep Foundations

GSP 186: Contemporary Topics in In-Situ Testing, Analysis, and Reliability of Foundations

GSP 187: Contemporary Topics in Ground Modification, Problem Soils, and Geo-Support

The editors, Magued Iskander, Ph.D., P.E. (Polytechnic Institute of New York University), Debra Laefer, Ph.D. (University College Dublin, Ireland), and Mohamad Hussein, P.E. (GRL) all had their work cut out for them.

I have added all seven papers authored by DBA team members to our site.  The links are below, or you can go to our Publications page.

Axtell, P.J., Stark, T.D., and Dillon, J.C., 2009. “Strength Difference Between Clam-Shell and Long-Reach Excavator Constructed Cement-Bentonite Self-Hardening Slurry Walls”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in Ground Modification, Problem Soils, and Geo-Support, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 187, ASCE, pp. 297-304.

Brown, D.A., 2009. “Management of Risk in Deep Foundations with Design-Build”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in Deep Foundations, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 185, ASCE, pp. 1-11.

Brown, D.A. and Thompson, W.R., 2009. “Drilled Shaft Performance in Cemented Calcareous Formations in the Southeast United States”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in Deep Foundations, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 185, ASCE, pp. 119-126.

Loehr, J.E and Huaco, D.R., 2009. “Probabilistic Calibration of Resistance Factors for Slope Stability”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in In-Situ Testing, Analysis, and Reliability of Foundations, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 186, ASCE, pp. 297-304.

Parsons, R.L., Pierson, M., Han, J., Brennan, J.J., and Brown, D.A., 2009. “Lateral Load Capacity of Cast-in-Place Shafts Behind an MSE Wall”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in In-Situ Testing, Analysis, and Reliability of Foundations, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 186, ASCE, pp. 560-567.

Rollins, K.M., Adsero, M.E., and Brown, D.A., 2009. “Jet Grouting to Increase Lateral Resistance of Pile Group in Soft Clay”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in Ground Modification, Problem Soils, and Geo-Support, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 187, ASCE, pp. 265-272.

Thompson, W.R., Hill, J.R., and Loehr, J. E., 2009. “Case History: Value Engineering of Driven H-Piles for Slope Stability on the Missouri River”, 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo, Contemporary Topics in Deep Foundations, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 185, ASCE, pp207-214.

ADSC 2008 Faculty Workshop Field Day at DBA

ADSC 08 FacWkshp 23.jpg

Well, the ADSC 2008 Faculty Workshop Field Day was a great success! A group of 46 civil engineering faculty members from across the country participated in the week-long workshop that culminated in a field demonstration day at the World Headquarters of Dan Brown and Associates in Sequatchie, Tennessee. The participants and instructors were treated to installation and testing demonstrations of drilled shaft foundations, micropile foundations, and anchored earth retention systems. The load tests included a static load test of a micropile and a Statnamic test of a drilled shaft, which provided some of the day’s excitement. Installation demonstrations of the various drilled foundations and anchors allowed the participants to observe how the various elements are installed. Even though we had to dodge an occasional thundershower, everyone had a great time and felt that they went away with a lot of valuable information for their classes back home.

More info on the Workshop here.

I put together a slide show of photos taken by myself (Robert) and Dr. Erik Lohr.


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