Publication Abstract

Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, 2018, Anaheim, CA, USA, (DFI)

Drilled Shaft Difficulties and a Micropile Solution
Paul Axtell, P.E., D.GE, David Graham, P.E., Jeff Jackson and P.E.

The Montana Department of Transportation recently awarded a contract to construct a replacement bridge across the Clark Fork River in Heron, MT. Both abutments and both intermediate bridge bents were to be founded on 6-ft and 8-ft diameter, permanently cased drilled shafts with rock sockets, respectively. Two drilled shafts per substructure location were designed for a total of eight drilled shafts. The original design included 6-ft diameter drilled shafts at the abutments but the Contractor elected to submit a Value Engineering proposal that increased them to 8-ft diameter. On the basis of the subsurface exploration program, extremely challenging subsurface conditions were known to exist, including the potential presence of large boulders within the predominantly sand and gravel soil matrix. The successful bidder elected to use an oscillator to install the permanent casing to the top of bedrock, while simultaneously removing the spoils from inside the casing with a clam-grab. On seven of the eight shafts, this approach worked well. Unfortunately, on one of the shafts, the casing met refusal on one or more boulders encountered in the predominantly sand and gravel soil overburden. Following several attempts, and despite several variations of approaches, it was determined that the casing could not be advanced beyond the obstruction without unacceptable risks to the pile-supported temporary work trestle (i.e., loss of soil and reduction in pile capacity for the foundations supporting the work trestle). To mitigate the problematic drilled shaft, a unique solution was designed and successfully constructed. The solution involved the construction of seven 16-in diameter micropiles constructed within the confines of the obstructed casing. The micropiles were drilled to bedrock through the sand, gravel, and boulders and include rock sockets to satisfy axial design requirements. The micropile casing thickness, grade and grout strength were designed to provide adequate flexural strength as well as to satisfy other design requirements. Upon completion of the micropile installation, the upper portion of the drilled shaft above the boulders and within the permanent casing was constructed as usual. This paper discusses the difficult subsurface conditions at the site, the drilled shaft construction difficulties, and the design and construction of the micropile solution.

 article #3088; publication #1045 (AM-2018)