The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has released a synthesis report prepared by Dan and Robert on large diameter piles: NCHRP Synthesis 478, Design and Load Testing of Large Diameter Open-Ended Driven Piles. The report is a summary of the state of practice with regard to Large Diameter Open-Ended Piles (LDOEPs) in the transportation industry. We conducted a survey of state DOTs as well as interviews with private practitioners to summarize current practices as well as recommend best practices with regard to the selection, design, installation, and testing of LDOEPs. Several state DOTs are using LDOEPs more regularly where large foundation loads may exist and/or the piles are subject to significant unsupported length due to scour, liquefaction, or very weak surficial soils. Marine construction conditions also favor the use of these piles, particularly where pile bents might be employed to eliminate footings.
You can download a PDF of the report or purchase a hard copy at the link below.
Cover Image of the Hastings Mississippi River Arch Bridge
The featured article in the July/August 2013 issue of Deep Foundations, the magazine of the Deep Foundations Institute, is coauthored by Dan, Paul, and Rich Lamb, P.E., of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The article summarizes how load testing has been used successfully as part of the foundation design process by DBA and MnDOT on five major bridge projects along the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers during the last 10 years and the lessons learned from these successive projects. The featured bridge projects include two major design-build projects, the emergency replacement of the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge (2007) and the Hastings Mississippi River Arch Bridge (2011). The other traditional design-bid-build projects include the I-494 Wakota Mississippi River Bridge, the U.S. Hwy 52 Lafayette Mississippi River Bridge, and the St Croix River Bridge. As is often the case, each of these projects presented unique geological and hydrogeological challenges to foundation design – despite the projects all being within 30 miles of each other – including thick layers of highly organic compressible soils overlying bedrock, layers of cobbles and boulders, artesian groundwater conditions, and bedrock ranging from weak weathered sandstone to very hard dolostone. These varying conditions resulted in the use and testing of a variety of foundations. Load testing “with a purpose” has proven to be an integral part of the design and construction process on these projects, as the load tests were not simply for verification of a design but provided valuable information used to optimize the designs and provide quality assurance of the construction practices.
Please read the full article here or in a copy of Deep Foundations, a bi-monthly magazine published by the Deep Foundations Institute. DFI is an international technical association of firms and individuals involved in the deep foundations and related industry. More information about DFI and how to become a member can be found at www.dfi.org.
Also see our Projects Page for more about some of these projects and our other major projects.
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.
(Note from Robert: I used material from the team proposal and the article referenced below for this post, with the authors’ permission. Also, DBA is a significant participant in the project and we hope to provide updates as things move along.)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has partnered with the ADSC: The International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC-IAFD) on a comprehensive research project on post-grouted (also called base grouted or tip grouted) drilled shafts. The FHWA and the deep foundations industry are very interested in the proper application and implementation of post-grouting for drilled shafts. The potential benefits of post-grouting have been demonstrated, and the industry has attempted to capitalize on these benefits in numerous ways. Some of these attempts have been successful while others have not, which has led to confusion and even misapplication of post-grouting technology within the industry.
The project will include an extensive synthesis of existing practice and literature, evaluation of theoretical concepts, full-scale field testing, and comprehensive analysis of the field testing to develop design methods. Each phase of work will have a set of deliverables that will go through a rigorous review process. The project is anticipated to be completed sometime in 2014.
The four main objectives of the research program are:
Bound the application of the post-grouting technology for the current state-of-knowledge;
Quantify the improvement mechanism(s) for the post-grouting of drilled shafts;
Develop design methodology(ies) for appropriate applications of post-grouting; and,
Provide method(s) for verification.
To accomplish these objectives, a highly qualified and experienced team of practitioners and researchers has been assembled to execute this project. This team includes industry representatives from construction, design, and academia that can bring a variety of perspectives to the project as well as respond to input from the many stakeholders within the geotechnical and transportation design and construction communities that routinely implement this technology.
Dr. Antonio Marinucci, MBA, P.E., of ADSC-IAFD will serve as Project Manager for the project and will be responsible for coordination and oversight of all project activities. Dr. J. Erik Loehr, PE, of the University of Missouri will serve as Principal Investigator (PI) with overall technical responsibility for the project including technical planning, data collection, synthesis, interpretation, and document production. Three Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) will collaborate with Dr. Loehr to address the technical aspects of the project: Dr. Marinucci of ADSC-IAFD; Dr. Dan Brown, P.E., D.GE of Dan Brown and Associates, PC; and Dr. Jesús Gómez, P.E., D.GE of Schnabel Engineering Consultants, Inc.
An Advisory Panel will be utilized to provide additional objective technical insight regarding planning and execution of the project and development of the project deliverables, as well as unique expertise regarding specific aspects of the proposed work. The Advisory Panel will include:
Mr. Tom Armour, P.E., D.GE of DBM Contractors, Inc.
Dr. Donald Bruce, CEng, D.GE of Geosystems, LP
Mr. Allen Cadden, P.E., D.GE of Schnabel Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Dr. Steven Dapp, P.E. of Dan Brown and Associates, PC
Mr. Michael Muchard of Applied Foundation Testing
Dr. Miguel Pando, PEng of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
To provide objective review and evaluation of project plans and deliverables at key stages of the project, a formal Peer Review Panel will be formed composed of representatives from throughout the drilled shaft industry. The peer review process will be coordinated through the drilled shaft technical committees of each of the major stakeholder organizations in the U.S.: the ADSC-IAFD Drilled Shaft Committee; the ASCE/Geo-Institute (ASCE/GI) Deep Foundations Committee; the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) Drilled Shaft Committee; and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Foundations of Bridges and Other Structures.
The final component of the project team will be the ADSC-IAFD Contractor Members, Associate Members, and Technical Affiliates that will provide substantial in-kind contributions to meet the needs of the proposed experimental programs. Likely in-kind contributions from ADSC members will include provision of testing sites and facilities, construction equipment, materials, testing apparatus, as well as services necessary to complete the proposed project.
The configuration of this team consisting of the PIs, the Advisory Panel and the Peer Review Panel will provide a thorough review process as well as “checks-and-balances” against any perceived or realized personal biases regarding the use of post-grouting with drilled shafts. It is believed that the recommendations resulting from this effort will reflect a consensus on the application, design and construction of base-grouted drilled shafts that will be accepted by the industry at-large. This should result in consistent application of this technique by the industry.
For a detailed description of the project, see the article linked below from May 2012 issue of Foundation Drilling magazine, available from the ADSC-IAFD. In the article, Dr. Marinucci provides the first in a series of updates that will be published reporting the progress of the research through the various phases of the project. We’ll provide posts here as new reports are released, as well as posts of all the action when field work gets started!
While at the 2012 Geo-Congress I purchased a couple of books at the ASCE bookstore. One was GSP 88: Analysis, Design, Construction and Testing of Deep Foundations, Proceedings of the OTRC ‘99 Conference. There are several interesting papers in the GSP, including an early paper by Dan on lateral Statnamic testing. A full scale lateral load test was performed on a 36 inch tests shaft using a Statnamic device. The test was performed at the Auburn University National Geotechnical Experiment Station Site (NGES). I guess you could say this paper is literally a “blast” from the past!
The planned second load test in the ADSC research project for rock sockets in the Southeastern U.S. is moving closer to execution. Bruce Long of Long Foundation Drilling Company provides this update:
To Fellow Load Testers,
We want to thank everyone who submitted questions or comments regarding the preliminary load test program submitted to us by Dr. Dan Brown. Those comments, and more, will be considered while fine-tuning the program.
Because we have several companies donating their time and money, we have to be flexible with respect to the installation and testing dates. We have tentatively selected some dates, but these are subject to change depending upon the workloads of those volunteering their efforts. We hope to begin shaft installation during the last two weeks of July (weeks beginning the 18th or 25th). The actual load testing would probably take place the week of August 8th, with the actual test date being decided upon by sometime in early July (I hope to give everyone at least a 3-4 week notice).
The actual test date would include a field day visit by all interested parties to the test site at Foundation Technologies office in Lawrenceville, GA. Activities will include a load testing discussion led by Dr. Dan Brown, along with lunch. We would then move to the test site where Loadtest, Inc. will be conducting the Osterberg Load Test on our first shaft. A discussion of the testing process and procedures by Loadtest will precede the actual testing (We will be submitting information later regarding a load test contest where each of you will get to predict the outcome of the test with a special prize going to the winner). We also hope to be drilling on the second shaft that day and will be discussing the drill rigs, tools, and other equipment being used, as well as having the other Osterberg cell available for viewing. This site visit proved to be very well received when we did it in Nashville at the last load test. We hope for a big turnout that day.
I wanted to give everybody a brief update and will be in touch when additional information becomes available in the near future. Thank you for your interest, and if anyone has any questions regarding this plan, please feel free to call me at your convenience.
After some lengthy delays, the rock-socketed drilled shaft research sponsored by the Southeast Chapter of the ADSC is back on track. A second site has been selected at the site of Foundation Technologies, Inc. in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This site will investigate the resistance of some of the rocks of the Piedmont for drilled shaft design. The first test site was in Nashville, Tennessee. The report of the first test site and other information can be found at the test site page. General information about the complete project, including a list of participating/contributing companies and organizations, can be found at the project page.
Bruce Long (Long Foundation Drilling Company) is the lead for the ADSC on this project and has requested interested parties to provide comment on the test plan for the second site (see links below). The hope is to have load testing occur this July if every thing comes together properly. Bruce sent the following email with some refresher material on the Nashville test site and an update on the startup for the Lawrenceville site:
First, I would like for everyone to know that the load test program jointly planned between the Atlanta area ASCE Geotechnical community and the Southeast Chapter of the ADSC is alive and well despite some longer than planned delays. The final boring data has been in hand for some time and Dan Brown and his group have reviewed this information and submitted a preliminary load test program for review and comment. This program is very similar to the test program that was performed in Nashville a couple of years back. For informational purposes, the results of that test program has resulted in an increased awareness of the available load carrying capacity in the limestone formations in the area. Historically, shafts were designed almost exclusively utilizing end bearing with the normal range of values allowed ranging from 60-100 KSF. In recent months, we have seen projects now being designed with recommended values ranging from 100 up to 250 KSF with an increasing number of designs also relying on skin friction values up to 25 KSF in sound limestone sockets. The information gained from these load tests has given area engineers increased confidence in raising the bar for future drilled shaft designs. This will result in lower foundation costs for owners of public and private projects alike. For those involved in the design process, better information will result in improved design values and an improved competitive position for those willing to utilize this data.
Now we are prepared to move forward with the planned testing in the Atlanta area. I have attached the final geotechnical report for your review. There are several people and companies that have generously volunteered their time and expertise to make this happen, Todd Barber with Geo-Hydro Engineers, Inc. being the most notable of these. His persistence and assistance was invaluable. Others that contributed in a variety of ways include Mactec, Golder Associates, Georgia Tech and GeoTesting Express. Thanks to everyone for their efforts.
Also attached is the preliminary memo from Rob Thompson of Dan Brown and Associates. What he has outlined are suggestions based upon the boring information for two separate Osterberg Load cell tests. One would be on a shaft that was hand-cleaned, while the second shaft would be machine-cleaned only. This would allow a comparison to determine the effects (if any) that traditional hand-cleaning has on shaft behavior. This memo is being sent out with the intention that review and comments from the geotechnical community be considered and incorporated in the final program. Depending upon the extent of comments, a final meeting could be necessary to discuss any proposed revisions. If suggestions are minimal, such a meeting might not be required. In this case, we would proceed with shaft installation and testing as soon as possible.
Thanks for your patience–I think that the final results will be worth the time. It has been very rare that full scale load testing be done in hard rock areas (Piedmont or Limestone), but if the results of our Nashville area testing are any indication, I think the results will definitely show that the effort was worthwhile.
Please take time to review this information and e-mail or call me with any comments that you might have. As soon as all comments have been reviewed, we will let everyone know our plan to proceed. I would like to have comments submitted to me by May 27, 2011. If there are any questions regarding our plans, schedule, etc., please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
I have linked the proposed load test plan memo and the boring information below. Bruce would like comments from interested parties to be submitted by May 27, 2011. Please submit comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A blog page for this test site has been created and will be updated as the project progresses. We intend to have a prediction contest similar to the one we had for the Nashville site, so keep checking for information. Better yet, subscribe to our blog using one of the social media links at the top of the right sidebar of the blog.
Last spring, DBA designed a composite ground improvement system for a new hospital as part of the Owensboro, Kentucky, Medical Health System. Tim performed most of the ground improvement design for the design-build project with Berkel & Company Contractors, Inc. The design is a composite ground system with a layer of compacted gravel above lightly reinforced cast-in-placed displacement piles (known commercially as CGEs). Spread foundations placed on the compacted gravel distribute the structural load to the soil and CGEs. The construction of the composite ground system began and was completed in the summer of 2010. The project has a designated webcam that allows the public to view the entire construction process. The webcam can be viewed here. We have also uploaded some photos of construction and testing of the CGEs here.
Dan recently played the part of storyteller at the Southeastern Transportation Geotechnical Engineering Conference (STGEC) 2010 conference in Charleston, West Virginia when he gave the lunch presentation on the conference’s first day. He took the audience on a trip down the Mississippi River from a foundation engineer’s perspective, talking about several bridges that DBA has had the pleasure to work on, or is still working on, along the river the last few years. Dan began with the I-35W Bridge replacement in Minneapolis, Minnesota and ended at the Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana. Stops along the way included the Hastings Bridge (Hastings Minnesota), the new I-70 Bridge (St. Louis, Missouri), and the Audubon Bridge (New Roads/St. Francisville, Louisiana). Dan covered some of the technical issues/problems associated with each project and the solutions applied to complete the foundations (or complete the design). It was a very informative talk presented in a unique way that everyone at the luncheon seemed to enjoy. Dan’s presentation is now available on our Presentations Page.
Immediately after lunch, Robert made a presentation that described some of the pile load tests performed on two of the storm protection projects in New Orleans that DBA was privileged to be involved with through Kiewit. By following Dan, it provided a little continuity to the story as Robert took the group below the Huey P. Long Bridge to the levees and canals downstream of New Orleans. Robert’s presentation can also be found on our Presentations Page.
Here is the existing bridge that is being replaced (viewing from upstream):
In addition to several relatively large approach spans, the new bridge will include a 545ft long free-standing arch main span with four lanes of traffic and a 12 foot wide common use pedestrian/bike path. The new bridge will allow additional parking and an artistic plaza area south of the river. An anti-icing system will be installed to help achieve the 100-year design life.
On the south side of the Mississippi River, the bridge foundations will consist of spread footings bearing on dolostone bedrock. The remaining bridge foundations will utilize 42in diameter pipe piles. Several Statnamic load tests, both axial and lateral, will be performed by our friends at AFT.
Settlement mitigation is required beneath the North Embankment due to several relatively thick and deep strata of compressible fine-grained soils. The embankment will also be heavily instrumented to evaluate performance of the embankment and mitigation technique.
Preliminary work including subsurface investigation has begun. The subsurface investigation is being performed by Braun Intertec under sub-contract to DBA. Test piles will be installed in early September, 2010 with subsequent load testing soon after.
The awarded design-build contract is for $120M. The estimated project completion date is May 13, 2013.