Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Columbia Lock and Dam on the Ouachita River near Columbia, LA


I learned about this lock and dam because of these three posts.

Massman Construction Co. posted two photos on Dec 13, 2018, with the comment:
The Massman team is currently performing emergency repair work at the Columbia Lock and Dam in Columbia, Louisiana. Massman is partnering with the USACE’s Vicksburg District to address seepage, sand boils, and voids beneath portions of the structure. 
As a result of these issues, the lock and dam, as well as portions of the Ouachita River, have been closed to navigation since July 3.


Massman Construction Co. posted on July 23, 2020
Check out this story about our recent experience partnering with
Vicksburg District - USACE
to make emergency repairs to the Columbia Lock and Dam. Thanks for sharing,
The Waterways Journal

Massman Construction Co. posted on Oct 6, 2020
The Columbia Lock and Dam Emergency Seepage Repairs recently earned
Engineering News-Record
's Award of Merit in the Water/Environment category in Texas & Louisiana.
In the face of an “exponentially increasing risk of failure” of the lock structure due to foundational undermining, Massman partnered with
Vicksburg District - USACE
to perform emergency repairs to the structure and restore the Ouachita River’s navigability.
Congratulations to the project team!

Massman's project web page contains three photos with the comment:
The Columbia Lock and Dam is owned and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Vicksburg District. In the face of an “exponentially increasing risk of failure” of the lock structure due to foundational undermining, the District declared an Official Dam Safety Emergency and suspended navigation through the lock in July 2018. We partnered with USACE to perform emergency repairs to the structure and restore the Ouachita River’s navigability, including the development of an alternative construction approach to address voids that were significantly larger than anticipated.
The project involved the drilling of nearly 300 holes ranging in diameter from 4 to 15 inches, subaqueous grouting and concrete placement, and the installation of a sheet pile cutoff wall. Other major scope elements included the removal and replacement of a portion of the lock floor without dewatering the structure, and the installation of a permanent relief well and dewatering system.



Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Auger Cast Piles or Continuous Flight Auger (CFA)

Some contractors working on the Miami Signature Bridge bragged about pioneering the use of "auger cast piles" for building bridges in the US. A comment by mkeit on those notes taught me that the technique is also called Continuous Flight Auger (CFA). Using many piles under a foundation has been the solution for many decades as to how to hold up heavy structures. Either the piles go down to bedrock or they are long enough to create enough friction to hold the structure. Initially, the piles were wood poles driven into the ground. Then H-beams and precast concrete columns were driven. But when the piles are really thick, they can't be driven. For thick piles, a hole is bored into the ground and then filled up with reinforced concrete. The drills I have seen have an auger with just a few turns on the end of a long shaft.

The auger is lowered into the bore and the shaft is turned until the auger fills up with material. Then the auger is brought up out of the bore, the unit turned to its side and the auger is spun to fling the material out of the auger. Then the cycle is repeated by placing the auger back into the bore. If the soil is not competent, then a steel casing has to first be driven into the ground to keep the soil from collapsing back into the bore being dug. Once the bore is dug, a rebar cage is lowered into it, and it is filled with concrete.

Continuous Flight Auger uses an auger that is a long as the desired depth of the bore and that has a hollow shaft. It allows drilling bores in incompetent soil without the need to first drive a casing into the soil. It also removes the dead time of raising the auger out of the hole every few feet to discard the material. Since a picture is worth a 1000 words, this video explains the process.
(new window, 1:57)

This video explains the process using real equipment.
(new window, 4:30)  (It is a shame that they play the torture music during the narration. In one case, it actually drowned out some of the words!)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Canal Overflow Weir

I've taken some photos of overflow weirs. But I don't have the time needed to try to find them. But I'll start these notes so that, if I come across a photo. it is easy to save it.

Canal Society of Indiana posted
For a canal to function properly, the engineers designed them to maintain a constant level of water of 4-5 feet depth. Normally the problem was getting enough water into the canal but like a modern bath tub you had to have a way for the excess water to be safely released. On the Wabash & Erie Canal at Defiance, Ohio a waste weir was built into the bank of the canal. Once the water level filled to the opening, excess could be safely directed into a nearby waterway.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

I-395 Miami Signature Bridge and Midtown Exchange Rebuild


Rendering by Archer Western - De Moya via miami.curbed-2017

The above bridge over a park is part of a project that is rebuilding the Midtown exchange and adding lanes to the east/west route. It was estimated at $802m, but it is now up to $818m.

In addition to rebuilding the existing roads, the project will add some FL-386 express lanes between NW 17th Ave and the MacArthur Causeway and it will make a 30 acre "community activity space" under the east end of I-395. They make that community activity space by hanging the new I-394 roadbed from cables. 30% of the design competition for the bridge is that it looks pretty.  (The 30 acre figure comes from a factsheetmiami.curbed-2017 provides a figure of 55 acres. RoadTraffic agrees with the 55-acre Heritage Trail figure.)

Before I dig into the Signature Bridge, I'll describe the FL-386 express lanes because it did not have a design controversy. A rendering makes it obvious that the express lanes are being built over the local lanes.
RoadTraffic and TheProject

The winning design for the Signature Bridge was announced in May 2017, and it was by Archer Western - De Moya. Using a tunnel to have an open park in the museum area of Miami was quickly ruled out as too expensive.
Rendering by Archer Western - De Moya via miami.curbed-2017, this article has several more renderings of the proposed bridge.

Below was the runner-up design by Fluor-Astaldi-MCM. It lost by a half-point on a scale with 100 points. A 2013 settlement determined that aesthetics would determine 30% of the points. Originally, the aesthetics committee consisted of one FDOT member and four community representatives. But when the FDOT member dropped out, FDOT designated its technical committee of five FDOT staffers as the replacement voters. Thus FDOT changed the ratio of FDOT/community from 1/4 to 5/4. [ENR-Jul2017, I'm down to one free article. I don't know what the initial count was.]
CommunityNewspapers, this article has more photos of this proposal

The "spider legs" design was controversial because FDOT kept the selection process secret and rigged the voters on the aesthetics committee and because Archer Western De Moya was fired from a hospital project because of a two-year delay. [CommunityNewspapers]

The funding to rebuild the road without piers in the downtown area was identified in 1996. But some thought the money would be better spent on new rapid transit facilities. The idea of removing piers by using some arches was around since at least 2015. [MiamiTodayNews- Dec2015]
MiamiTodayNews- Dec2015

An article from May 2017 expected construction to start by December. Obviously that did not happen. Evidently the delay was caused by protests from Munilla Construction Management and Figg Bridge Group. But in Apr 2018, they dropped their protests. [TheRealDeal-2018, I didn't subscribe] I recognize Figg as the designers of the FIU Bridge that collapsed on 3/15/2018


This rendering captures both the double-deck highway and the Signature Bridge.

The pier that terminates all six arches is pushing foundation technology. First of all, it uses auger cast piles to support the foundations. It is one of the first times they have been used for a road bridge in the US. [wsp]
When early tests showed that the FDOT’s preferred foundation method of precast piles wouldn’t have enough load capacity, and that drilled shafts would take too long, they needed a new solution. The fact that Keller has successfully used auger cast piles for around 90 percent of high-rise towers in the area, achieving several world records along the way, helped convince the consulting engineers to meet with Keller and develop an auger cast pile design solution. That solution was then presented by Keller to FDOT and general contractor (Archer Western-de Moya joint venture), who green-lit the project....Over the next couple of years, Keller will work in phases to install more than 2,000 auger cast piles, with diameters of 30 and 36 inches, up to depths of 134ft. [keller]

Construction began on Oct 29, 2018 and was expected to be done in the fall of 2023. But by Nov 2019, they had already added a year to the schedule. One of the reasons for the delay was "instead of driven concrete piles, the foundation of the I-395 segmental and signature bridges will now be built with auger cast piles." [TheNextMiami]

For the Big Pour of the six-arch foundation pier, they used six miles of cooling pipes and seven large chillers. They had embedded wireless thermometers in the footing so that they could insure a uniform temperature during cooling. [wsp]
The central pier footing is 140' x 68' x 14' and required 5,200 cubic yards of 8,000 psi. The Big Pour used four pump trucks and started on Friday, Jul 23, 2021. After 33 hours, it was done Sunday morning. The rebar was so dense at the bottom of the footing that they had to use a special concrete mix so that it flowed correctly into the tiny spaces, just inches, in the dense rebar. [wsp] BASF Kaolin supplied 300 tons of MetaMax in one day during the Big Pour. [kaolin]

massive-pour via TheNextMiami

(new window, 1:10)

Note the cooling pipes and chillers in the upper-left corner.
Cropped Screenshot

Attention has now turned to the 345 cast segments that will be needed to build the six arches. The rebar in these segments is tied even more thickly than in the footings.  So they are using self-consolidating concrete. "Because of the elliptical shape of the arches, he said each segment will meet its neighboring segments at slightly different angles. That means the forms for all 345 segments must be adjusted to create the precise angle specified for each segment." [wsp]

In the meantime, they started work on the regular road on Jun 22, 2020. Walsh tweeted three photos of the placement of the first two segments.



About a year later, some of the new roadway is built and the piles for the other ends of two of the arches are done.
WalshGroup-202106, this site contains several more photos of the segmented road construction including an interior shot.

This is the post that taught me about the existence of this project. Has Walsh replaced Archer Western - De Moya, or are they a subcontractor? Neither, I think Archer Western is part of the Walsh Group.
The Walsh Group posted
The first precast arch segment for the Miami Signature Bridge has been cast! In total, there will be 345 segments for the bridge’s six arches.
The arches will have a height that ranges from 180 to 300 feet above ground and span over 1,000 feet.

The Walsh Group commented on their post
Each segment will be a precast install. However, the final piece (in purple) will be poured in place.

In the "Documents and Publications" entry in the sidebar on the FDOT site, I found these renderings.
Fluor-Astaldi-MCM, Dance to the Miami Rhythm

Kiewit Granite, Wave

Miami Community Builders, Sails

I did not find comparable renderings for the winning design. I wonder what the official name of that design was. I doubt it was "spider legs."

Saturday, October 23, 2021

East Chicago Terminal Railroad's Railyard


It opened July 27, 2021. [ProgressiveRailroading] I'm used to seeing railyards disappear. It is nice to see one that has been built.

"Our facility has the capacity to store in excess of 200 railcars as well as transload 60 railcars."

(new window, 1:06)

Doug Kaniuk posted the above YouTube link.
Dennis DeBruler commented on Doug's post
That is new enough that it has yet to show up in satellite images.


Friday, October 22, 2021

1974 US-322 Commodore Barry Bridge over Delaware River at Chester, PA

(Bridge HunterSatellite)

"It is the longest span of its type in the United States, however, it is the fourth longest span in the world." [Nathan Holth via BridgeHunter] The 1,655' long main span is the third longest according to PhillyRoads. It has a mid-span clearance of 192'.

The navigation span is 800' and the total length is 13,912' (2.6 miles)

It is named after the American Revolutionary War hero and Philadelphia resident John Barry. Along with the Betsy Ross Bridge, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Walt Whitman Bridge, the Commodore Barry Bridge is one of the four toll bridges connecting the metropolitan Philadelphia region with southern New Jersey

The ferry service that this bridge replaced started in 1930 with two boats and was operating four boats by 1949. A crossing took about six minutes to complete and departure intervals were as small as every five minutes on both shores. [BridgesTunnels]

The bridge opened in Feb 1974 and by that Summer "engineers detected vibrations along the main cantilever span. Some of the vibrations were serious enough to twist the upright girders, forming cracks in some of them. Although the engineers did not believe that the vibrations threatened the overall integrity of the superstructure, they recommended that permanent measures be taken. The DRPA undertook the following corrective measures: 1) splicing and welding any deficiencies in the vertical girders and 2) installation of a network of steel support cables so that the bridge beams could withstand wind velocities of up to 70 miles per hour." [PhillyRoads]

(new window, 4:30)

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Mammoet Tandem Crane Lifts for the Ain Dubai

Information on tandem crane lifts normally gets added to my tandem lift notes. But this lift strikes me as worthy of its own notes. Lifting the 1,805 spindle from a barge to a height of 137m set a world record as the heaviest and highest tandem lift. [mammoet]

Two of three photos posted by Mammoet with the comment:
The wait is over! Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest and largest observation wheel is opening tomorrow! Nearly twice the height of the London Eye, the magnificent #AinDubai is the result of a fantastic engineering by all the teams involved.
Some facts: 
- The assembled hub and spindle is approximately 40m long and 20m high and weighs a massive 1,805t – which is equivalent to four A380 aircrafts
- Each leg of the wheel stands at a height of 126m and is long enough to fit 15 London buses
- The structure includes around 11,200t of steel, around 33 percent more than the amount of iron used to construct the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Learn more about the project here:


The ring crane used for the near end of the spindle was the world's biggest crane, PTC 200-DS. The crawler crane used for the far end was rated at 3000t.. [mammoet] (I'm disappointed that they did not provide the model of the crawler crane.) It appears that the crawler crane not only had to lift its load, but it had to travel with it from close to the barge to near the two legs furthest from the barge. The ring "just" had to turn. I put "just" in quotes because it would have to constantly adjust it radius and rate of rotation to keep the tip of the boom directly above the lift point of the spindle. Any deviation would introduce lateral forces on the booms. Booms cannot take a lot of lateral force

Each 890t, 126m long leg was also a tandem lift. We can see from this photo that they must have rebuilt the ring crane at least three times. Once on the right side to lift the first two legs. Then again in the position of this photo. And then again back on the right side to help with the spindle lift.

600t and 400t crawler cranes were used to do tandem lifts to remove the eight temporary spokes. Each spoke was 112m long and weighed 470t.