Tag Archives: Deep Foundations

FHWA GEC 15 (Foundation Acceptance) Now Published

FHWA has published (posted the PDF!) of Geotechnical Engineering Circular 015 – Acceptance Procedures for Structural Foundations of Transportation Structures.   Work began on this in 2019 and was delayed due to COVID.   Andy Boeckmann, Dan Brown, Erik Loehr, and John Turner of DBA are the authors.  They worked hard with Silas Nichols and the team at FHWA to produce a great guidance document for accepting deep foundations supporting transportation structures.  Here is a bit from the Introduction in Chapter 1 that gives the “big picture” of this GEC:

Foundation acceptance is a crucial component of the design and construction process used to develop transportation infrastructure in the United States today. As considered in this circular, foundation acceptance refers to a process resulting in approval of payment
to the constructor for installation of a deep foundation element. The process should involve the following actions by an owner agency, or entity acting on its behalf:


      1. Establishment of measurable and achievable acceptance criteria that serve as assurance that a foundation element will fulfill all appropriate performance requirements, and


       2. Documented evaluation of the constructed foundation element to demonstrate that the established acceptance criteria have been satisfied.


Foundation acceptance is the culmination of quality assurance (QA) efforts that, when appropriately implemented, provides the owner agency with confidence that a foundation element will fulfill all appropriate performance requirements. In some instances, the
foundation acceptance process may include provisions for cost adjustments for foundation elements that do not strictly satisfy established acceptance criteria, but that are nevertheless judged to satisfy all appropriate performance requirements and which
the owner agency agrees to accept.

Topics covered in this GEC include the framework for accepting deep foundations (project delivery, participants, role of QA/QC,etc.) , roles of inspection and testing, and specific items of concern for drilled shafts, driven piles, micropiles, and continuous flight auger piles.  You can download the PDF at the link below or on the FHWA Geotechnical Publications page HERE.

 

Acceptance Procedures for Structural Foundations of Transportation Structures  (FHWA-HIF-22-024, Geotechnical Engineering Circular 015).  Loehr, E.L., Brown, D.A., Turner, J.P., and Boeckmann, A.Z. (2022).

NCHRP micropile study report published – NCHRP Report 989

At long last, the report for the NCHRP micropile study performed by Erik, Dan D., and Andy is published. The report, Reliability-Based Geotechnical Resistance Factors for Axially Loaded Micropiles, is the result of a considerable research effort that aims to rework AASHTO’s micropile design methods. Highlights of the research tasks are listed below.

 

  • Compile a database of micropile load tests and organize the database by micropile type and ground conditions.
  • Develop new presumptive and predictive models for micropile design. The presumptive models are based only on micropile type and ground condition; the predictive models further consider soil or rock strength.
  • Calibrate probabilistic resistance factors for micropile design based on presumptive and predictive models, and for designs based on site-specific load tests. If adopted, the resistance factors for designs based on load tests would be the first for AASHTO to be based on probabilistic calibration rather than fitting to historical practices.

 

The report can be downloaded for free from TRB’s website:

 

https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/182710.aspx

Welcome Aaron Leopold, P.E.!

Aaron Leopold, P.E. joined the team this May with 8 years of geotechnical engineering experience.  He received a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His previous work at Shannon & Wilson mainly focused on the design and construction of deep foundations and retention systems.  Aaron was often on the road, observing complex geotechnical projects throughout the Midwest and Western United States consisting of drilled shafts, ground anchors, micropiles, augercast piles, and other deep foundation and earth retention systems.  He has supported numerous landslide stabilization projects utilizing his knowledge of 2D and 3D numerical modeling and has worked on large design-build projects from the pursuit through construction in the Rockies.  Aaron is also heavily involved within ASCE and other professional organizations in Colorado and will be based in Denver.

Welcome Adam blazejowski and frank russell!

We are starting 2022 with two new faces at DBA – a big welcome to Adam Blazejowski, EI and Frank Russell, EI.  Both will be based in our office in Knoxville, Tennessee, but will soon be like the rest of us at DBA – traveling to interesting project sites all over the U.S.  They will be working on many of the deep foundation and earth retention projects that are our staples.

Adam is  from London, Canada where he completed his B.S. degree in civil engineering at Western University in 2020.  He came to the United States to complete an M.S. in geotechnical engineering at Virginia Tech, where he performed research on the cyclic strength of sands.  Adam is also interested in risk-based design and reliability in geotechnical engineering.

Frank  is from Hickory Flat, Georgia and graduated from Auburn University with his B.S. in 2019 and his M.S. in 2021 in civil engineering.  During graduate school, he was a recipient of the Long Family Endowed Civil Engineering Graduate Study Scholarship from the ADSC – The International Association of Foundation Drilling. His graduate school research evaluated the methods used in pile load testing across Alabama Department of Transportation projects. 

DBA Project Highlight: MoDOT I-44 Project Bridge Rebuild

I-44 Construction Aerial View; video courtesy of Emery Sapp & Sons

DBA has partnered with bridge designer Parsons and prime contractor Emery Sapp & Sons on a design/build project in Southwest Missouri being administered by MoDOT.  Design is complete and the project is in construction phase.  The project involves replacing 13 bridges and rehabilitating another six bridges along a 30-mile stretch of I-44 between Sarcoxie and Halltown.  The $36 million project is progressing nicely with construction beginning in 2019 and on schedule to be completed by December 15, 2021. To get a birds-eye view of some of the work, check out the video at the top of the post (from Emery Sapp & Sons)

Although smaller bridges than DBA typically works on, challenging subsurface conditions and unique structure types have made things interesting with respect to foundation design and construction.  Foundation types for various structures include driven H-piles installed with high-strain dynamic testing, drilled shafts with rock sockets in various rock formations, and spread footings bearing on near surface bedrock where applicable.  Pinnacle bedrock surface and karstic foundation conditions are prevalent in the area and this project is no exception.  Foundation design had to anticipate the complex subsurface conditions and consider constructability throughout the entire design process.

More information on the project can be found at MoDOT’s project page:  https://www.modot.org/i-44-project-bridge-rebuild .  Below are some photos taken by DBA staff while on site.

Photo Credit: DBA

 

DBA Grows – 2020 Edition!

DBA is happy to announce our two latest additions to the team: Dan Ding, Ph.D., P.E. and Andy Boekmann, Ph.D., P.E.  Dan joined us as a Project Engineer in October of 2019 while Andy came on board as a Senior Engineer in February of this year.   Read a little bit about both of them below.  Go to our About us page to see their resume as well as everyone else on the DBA Team.

Dan Ding, Ph.D., P.E.

Dan received her Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri. Dan specializes in site characterization, geotechnical laboratory testing, Load and Resistance Factor Design, and reliability analysis. Before joining DBA, Dan worked as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Missouri to teach undergraduate and graduate engineering courses as well as conduct national and state research projects. She also worked as a laboratory geotechnical engineer at Geocomp in Acton, MA for a year after graduation.  Dan is based in Columbia, Missouri.

Andy Boeckmann, Ph.D., P.E.

Prior to joining DBA, Andy was a research engineer at the University of Missouri, where he performed research on topics including post-grouted drilled shafts, reliability of geotechnical designs, foundation reuse, and geotechnical asset management. Andy also earned a Ph.D. at the University of Missouri; his dissertation examined the reliability of foundation designs based on site-specific load tests. Andy is the lead author of two NCHRP Synthesis reports, including Current Practices and Guidelines for the Reuse of Bridge Foundations. Prior to working at MU, Andy was a consulting geotechnical engineer for URS Corp. in St. Louis, where he performed design and analysis for large projects, including post-Hurricane Katrina levee design in New Orleans. Andy is an active member of the Deep Foundations Institute, including serving as the vice-chair of the Subsurface Characterization Committee.  He is also based in Columbia, Missouri.

Dan Brown awarded A Golden Beaver

(One more catch-up on “older” news!)

In January of 2018, Dan was awarded the coveted Golden Beaver  Award in Engineering by The Beavers.  The award was given at the 63rd Annual Golden Beavers Award Dinner on January 19, 2018 in Los Angeles.

The Beavers is a social and honorary organization organized and managed by members of the heavy construction industry.

The purpose of the Beavers is to promote goodwill, friendliness and consideration within the heavy engineering construction industry; to give recognition to those men and women who have demonstrated particular skill, responsibility and integrity; and to encourage and support entry of promising young individuals into heavy engineering construction.

The Beavers hold two major events annually. The Beavers Awards Dinner is held in mid-January, where individuals are recognized with a Golden Beaver Award for their achievements and contributions to the heavy construction industry in the categories of Management, Supervision, Engineering and Service & Supply.

Dan was honored with the award for his expertise and contributions to the deep foundations industry and its impacts on the heavy construction industry.

 

DBA staff additions for 2018 (and Earlier)

It has been a busy time since our last post, so it is time to “catch up” on the growth of our staff over the last year or so since the last update. Here are the newest faces of DBA. You can find resumes on the About US – Other Engineers page.


Cody Coonradt, E.I. (Staff Engineer) He had several years of experience as a field and laboratory technician before completing his BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. While completing his BS and MS degrees, Cody worked at a geotechnical engineering firm in Buffalo, NY. His experience includes site investigation, stormwater management, slope stabilization, load transfer platforms, retaining structures, and ground improvement. Cody and his family have moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where Cody will be based.

Tayler Day, E.I. (Project Engineer) joined us in Knoxville in October of 2016. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri, with BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering. Talyer is in the process of completing his Ph.D. at Mizzou as well. Tayler is applying his experience in field testing to many projects with a wide variety of foundations types, working from our Knoxville office.

Isaac Jeldes, Ph.D. (Project Engineer) started at DBA in August, 2017. He is a native of Chile and is a civil engineer whose passion is geotechnical engineering. He holds MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Jeldes specializes in slope stability analyses and design based on mechanical, erosional, morphological evolution concepts, and numerical techniques for geotechnical modeling. He has international experience in field exploration, foundations, ground improvement, pavement geomechanics, and retaining structures, including sheet pile walls, braced excavations, soil nailing, and active/passive anchored systems. Before Joining DBA, Dr. Jeldes served as faculty for the Engineering Fundamentals Program at the University of Tennessee and as the assistant engineer for research stations at the same university.

Will Shaffer, E.I. (Staff Engineer) is our first new team member for 2019. Will graduated with his BS in Engineering with a Civil Emphasis from Marshall University in 2017, and then obtained his MS in civil engineering from Virginia Tech at the end of 2018. While at VT he was the Charles E. Via Scholar and he conducted research on geophysics and construction vibrations. He has joined us in the Knoxville office.

Sam Sternberg, P.E., D.GE (Senior Engineer) came aboard in April of 2018. Sam joins DBA with over 16 years of geotechnical engineering experience.  He received a BS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky, M.Div degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a MS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Alabama.  He has worked in consulting  on numerous private and public projects with primary focus on DOT Transportation projects around the Southeastern US.  He has managed and supported numerous bridge foundation designs, shallow and deep foundations, soft soil remediation, retaining walls (including cantilever, and mechanically stabilized earth walls), bulkhead and relieving platforms.  Sam will be working based in Daphne, Alabama

 

 

TH 53 Bridge Begins to Rise from the Ground

Bridge and Subsurface Rendering
Bridge and Subsurface Rendering (rendering courtesy of MnDOT)

A lot has changed from a year ago at the TH 53 Bridge sight near Virginia, Minnesota.  This time last year, the design-phase test pile program was wrapping up with three Statnamic load tests and we had just completed our initial geologic field investigation.  Since then, significant excavation, rockfall protection, and foundation work has been completed.  During summer and fall of 2015, DBA worked closely with contractors Hoover Construction and Pacific Blasting to maintain rockfall protection throughout the East Abutment and Pier 1 (East Pier) excavation process.  Official ground breaking occurred last November and foundation work started shortly after.  A total of 32, 30-in micropile foundations have been installed by Veit Specialty Contracting  and Kiewet Infrastructure  has completed a temporary causeway across the massive Rouchleau Pit by placing over 300,000 cubic yards of fill.

With the foundations of both piers complete, and the pier towers are starting to rise up, where they will carry the bridge deck 200 ft above.  The abutments are also taking shape with rock bearing concrete footings now poured on both sides of the pit.  The only foundation work left is to install tieback anchors at the East Abutment, which will reduce the lateral loading of the tall piers. This bridge is going to get packed with cars once it´s completed, that means there´s going to be lots of accidents. It´s not a bad idea to call One Sure Insurance to get covered before all that.

In a little over a year, the bridge is scheduled to open to traffic.  You can keep track of the progress through the project web cam.

Current View of Site, Piers Beginning to Rise
Current View of Site, Piers Beginning to Rise (photo from OxBlue Web Cam)

DBA is growing again – welcome to Ali, Ben, and Mark!

Well, we are at it again.  The first 5 months of 2016 have seen us add three new faces of the new website creator.  So now, drum roll, please………

Ali Leib, E.I.

Ali 2016-1

Ali was a summer intern at DBA in 2014 and 2015 and joined us full time as a staff engineer in February.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) where she completed both her B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering. While completing her M.S., she was a teaching assistant in charge of grading lab reports for the structural and geotechnical undergraduate labs. She was also a research assistant under Dr. Dayakar Penumadu, resulting in her thesis: “Effect of Particle Morphology on the Deformation Behavior of Sand under Monotonic Loading Conditions.”  Unlike most of the rest of us, Ali insists that she will not be conforming to the (mostly) standard DBA hair style.  Ali will work in our Knoxville, Tennessee office.

Mark Madgett, P.E.

Mark Madgett_s

 

Mark received a BS and MS degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Tennessee, while working on research for TDOT to improve pavement design methods.  He has worked in both consulting and construction for the last 22 years, focusing primarily on deep foundations in the Southeastern US.  As a consultant, Mark gained extensive field experience with deep foundation construction techniques and the impacts on design.  In 2006, he began working for Seaboard Foundations, opening a green field office in Tri-Cities TN as the district manager.  In his role as design engineer for Seaboard Foundations, Mark has implemented design-build techniques in many markets (energy, institutional, commercial, transportation, and healthcare you can supplement if you find Kratom online and other natural products) that vastly improved the constructability and reduced the costs of deep foundation systems for his clients.  Mark will also work outr of our Knoxville, Tennessee office.

Ben Turner, Ph. D., P.E.

Ben recently completed his Ph.D. in geotechnical earthquake engineering at UCLA with an emphasis on the transfer of forces between the ground and foundation elements during seismic loading. Prior to starting at UCLA, he worked for two years for the Los Angeles office of Shannon & Wilson, Inc.  Ben worked in both construction and geotechnical firms while attending school for his B.S. and M.S. degrees. His experience includes: design, construction, and load testing of deep foundations;  geotechnical earthquake engineering including soil-structure interaction, seismic hazard analysis, site response, liquefaction triggering analysis and mitigation of liquefaction-induced ground failure; and, characterization of structural behavior of reinforced concrete foundations.  Here are two of the publications resulting from his dissertation work:

Turner, B., Brandenberg, S., and Stewart, J. (). “Case Study of Parallel Bridges Affected by Liquefaction and Lateral Spreading.” J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. , 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001480 , 05016001.

Turner, B. and Brandenberg, S. (2015) “Pile Pinning and Interaction of Adjacent Foundations During Lateral Spreading”, DFI Journal, Volume 9, Issue 2.

Ben will anchor the West Coast Region of DBA, working from San Luis Obispo , California.