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.
UPDATE (8/17/10): Press Release from MTA (contractor joint venture).
UPDATE (8/18/10): ENR.com Article