Just before Christmas, David, Tim, and Nathan joined Dr. Ronaldo Luna and his graduate student, Devin Dixon, of Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly the University of Missouri–Rolla) to conduct a live load test on the all but officially complete Foothills Parkway Bridge No. 2., near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. During installation of the micropile foundations, DBA and Dr. Luna’s research team installed strain gages in four micropiles and at the base of the pier pedestals at both Piers 1 and 2 of the bridge. Strain data have been collected during construction of the superstructure. Following completion of the bridge, the live load test involved loading the bridge with four loaded dump trucks at prescribed locations with respect to the instrumented piers. Data were collected for several load configurations. The aim of the research is to better understand the performance of micropiles and micropile groups, particularly with respect to bending.
Visiting the site for the load test provided an opportunity to take some great pictures of this particularly scenic bridge nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. A new web album of pictures taken by David has been added to our Picasa page here, and some aerial photos of the nearly completed bridge taken in December by Aerial Innovations have been added to our Picasa web album Foothills Parkway Bridge No. 2 – From a Bird’s Eye View.