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.
Looking north towards Hastings as traffic travels on both bridges
Looking west from the Hastings’ river bank
I had the unique opportunity to be among the first people to cross the new Hastings bridge and among the last to cross the old Hastings bridge, during the short period of time when the two bridges were simultaneously carrying traffic.
Yesterday evening, Monday, June 3rd, crews shifted southbound traffic onto the new bridge for the first time. This evening, the old bridge will be closed to traffic for good as crews shift northbound traffic onto the new bridge. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there will be a funeral service of sorts for the 1950’s era truss bridge tonight, complete with a bagpiper and hearse.
Being just up the road for the St. Croix Bridge Project, I took the opportunity to travel across both bridges today and take a few pictures like the ones above. It is not every day that we, as foundation designers, get a chance to see this stage of a project. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time.
Photo Credit: Missouri Department of Transportation
I and my fellow bloggers here at DBA (David Graham and Aaron Hudson) try to keep up with the various projects under construction that we had a part of. Sometimes it is hard to do once we have left the site after foundations are complete. Modern information technology makes it much easier, especially since most large infrastructure projects have a significant public outreach effort, either by the project design/build team, or the owning agency.
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.