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Bridge pier footing with sheet piling
8

Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

(OP)
For the second time in my career, I have run across an existing bridge pier foundation that consists of a concrete footing with sheet piling around the perimeter. It looks like a normal pile supported pier footing, except there are no piles (like H-piles or pipe piles) under the footing, just the sheet piles around the perimeter. The sheet piles are driven in a rectangle and then the concrete footing is poured inside the sheet piles. The footing is a normal thickness (like 3 to 5 ft, 1 to 1.5 m) and is at the top of the sheet pile.

Does anyone have an idea how they designed these foundations? Are they designed as spread footings with an effective depth 2/3 the depth of the sheet piling (similar to a pile group)?
I don't think the sheet piling could be taking any significant load because the connection between the sheet piling and the concrete footing is relatively small. The connection is probably enough to provide lateral restraint to the top of the sheet piling, but that is it.


RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

You don't say anything about the soil/geological there. Also, what about loadings? How did you know no driven piles?

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Maybe the SSP was for excavation support and was then cut off at the top of the bridge foundation after it was poured? How deep is it to the top and to bottom of the bridge foundation?

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

I’m unsure of the connections but I am sure that I’ve seen examples of using SSP as part of the foundation. IIRC, Geotechnical capacity is derived similar to a steel pile. I’ll do a little digging around later and see if I can find any examples of the connections.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

If for sure no piles under the footing, perhaps they just left the sheets there to protect against erosion some day undermining the footing. I suppose no plans or other info.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

You'd get to use constrained modulus!

f-d

ípapß gordo ainÆt no madre flaca!

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

(OP)
I don't have the loads, but I have attached the existing plans from 1953. One pier has the sheet piling. The other three piers are supported on HP14x73 piles. It appears Pier 1 was originally on H-piles as well, but then was changed to the sheet piling at the end of the design process. The bottom of footing is about 15 ft below the ground surface. PEInc, I thought of the idea that the sheet piling may have been there for support of excavation, but I didn't see how they would have removed the part above the footing. That would mean that the entire height of sheet piling would be abandoned.

I am aware of the recent research on using sheet piling for axial loads at bridge abutments. I was hoping someone here had some knowledge about how they would design something like this in the 1950's. I don't remember ever running across anything from that era that discussed axial loads on sheet piling. Which is what leads me to think they were designing the foundation as a spread footing. But I am just guessing.

Oldestguy, the soils at this site are mostly alluvial sand, silts and gravel, with quite a few cobbles thrown in for good measure. We have designed and constructed other bridges on the Great Miami River in Dayton using 16" diameter pipe piles with conical driving points with an ultimate capacity of 650 kips.

I mentioned that this was the second time I had run across something like this. The first time was the old Main Street Bridge in Columbus, Ohio, over the Scioto River. The difference there was the sheet piles were driven to shale (probably) and the connection at the top of the sheet piling had the SSP embedded into the concrete footing a little ways.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Panars, you said, "I thought of the idea that the sheet piling may have been there for support of excavation, but I didn't see how they would have removed the part above the footing. That would mean that the entire height of sheet piling would be abandoned."

That's why I asked you about the depths from OG to top and bottom of foundation. It is not unusual for specs and plans to require that sheeting be left-in-place (L-I-P) so that voids are not created and the foundation undermined when removing the sheeting, especially SSP. It is also not unusual for the specs and plans to require cutting off L-I-P sheeting at the top of the foundation. In that situation, a problem can arise when the top of foundation is more than about 5' below grade. In that case, you would need more sheeting in order to safely cut off the original sheeting. And then, the new sheeting too would need to be cut off; and the the problem repeats to infinity. Some consulting engineers just don't know anything about sheeting, but that doesn't stop them from writing stupid specs.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Also, the SSP shown on the old bridge plans looks like scour protection for the pier. Is the pier with the SSP in or against the creek or river whereas the pile supported pier is founded at a higher elevation, maybe on poorer soil and requiring piles, well away from the water where scour would not be a problem? The old plan shows the SSP anchored to the concrete foundation but that would not be sufficient to support the bridge load. It looks to me like the anchors laterally support the top of the SSP in order to resist lateral earth pressure and the lateral surcharge pressure from the foundations vertical bearing pressure when scour occurs.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

I lived in the Dayton area for several years; anything to do with bridges, dams, etc. was designed with consideration of the 1913 Great Dayton Flood. I'd bet the sheeting is for scow protection.

Everything I learned about SSP use was from a 1930's thru 1970's bridge contractor (my father). In the 1950's SSP for the described project would not have been intended for axial loading. As for construction, a 1950's, a bridge contractor would not have hesitated to construct a temporary SSP cofferdam outside and concentric with the permanently installed SSP.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Just got out of a meeting with the FHWA and they were also discussing the use of permanent sheet piles for scour protection. I'd think that likely too!

f-d

ípapß gordo ainÆt no madre flaca!

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

That original plan detail for the "connection of the sheet pile to a footing" shows it was only for erosion protection. My view of that is there could be a failure of the pier support if significant erosion takes place outside of the sheet piles. They could easily deflect when that outside lateral support is gone. My "evaluation" of that is they have been lucky so far. Back about those days I met an engineer who came from Ohio DOT as a soil engineer to Wisconsin to get a PHD. From him it appeared the DOT then was ultra conservative. Not so here. Maybe due to the "waterproof wall" that sits between design and construction in many DOTs.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

I'm with the team on this one. That connection is not enough to take loads from the pier. This appears to be for scour protection.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

(OP)
Thanks everyone for confirming my suspicions that the SSP was just for scour protection. And to answer PEinc, all the pier footings are at approximately the same elevation. The footing with the SSP is on the "dry" side of the river bank. I put "dry" in quotes because it would still be under water at the elevation it was at, but the ground surface above it would generally be above water.

So if the SSP is only for erosion protection, would they just have designed the footing as a spread footing, ignoring the SSP for design purposes?

oldestguy, who was the engineer from Ohio DOT, if you remember their name? I ask because my boss is retired from ODOT and knew a lot of the bridge engineers.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Robert Keyser

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

The plans you posted show h piles.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Quote (Panars)

...would they just have designed the footing as a spread footing, ignoring the SSP for design purposes?

SSP would not have been ignored for lateral confinement of soil under the footing.

Axial loading of the SSP would be ignored, for several reasons including the following:

1) The connection between the the SSP and the footing is poor for axial loading.

2) The sheet pile specified, SP-4 (later designated PSA 23), is "flat". It's low structural properties (moment of inertia & section modulus) make it a terrible choice for axial loading.

3) The SSP is "short" (25') compared to the expected length of the HP 14x73 used on the other piers. For any pier settlement under load, the SSP would have been expected to move with the pier. (Note: HP 14x73 tip elevations are not given. Instead the HP were driven to "required bearing of 60 tons per pile".) The piles are most likely "long", not point bearing, and pile tip elevation "is what it is" for each pile. For bridge work at that time the Modified Engineering News Record formula would have been used to determine pile bearing value... all of this is common practice for 1950's bridge construction.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Props to you SRE for being able to read the text on that plan. My eyes were bleeding after trying for one minute on my phone.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Thanks, MTNC, I have the advantage of a desktop computer with a full size monitor.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Looking at the detail title block on the drawing, it was designed and initialed under a title block for the City of
Dayton, OH, not the state DOT. Confirms what I recall of statements by Keyser, not something the state would do..

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Plan Sheet 41A for Pier #1 has a note (in lower right corner) that says "For stem & cap details see Sheet 41." I take that to mean that Pier #1 still has, but Sheet 41A does not show, the HP14x73 bearing piles. Therefore, the SSP is not supporting axial loads from the pier.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

2
The stem & cap detail note on sheet 41-A refers to section A-A on sheet 41 which shows a "temporary conc. cap" that is located at the top of each of the four piers. Next to section A-A is a "temporary conc. cap detail". Not referring to the pile cap.

In the 1950's it was common practice to have separate, stand-alone contracts for for both bridge substructure and bridge superstructure. The temporary cap was to protect the top of the piers from damage until the superstructure contract was bid / awarded. This bridge has a sizable structural steel supported superstructure. Structural steel shortages during and just after the Korean War (1950 - 1953) could have easily made it uncertain when the structural steel would be available... hence the need to protect the top of piers.




During and after US involvement in World War II (1941- 1945), some bridge construction projects that were underway were suspended for years until structural steel became available.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Good catch, SRE. I didn't see that temporary cap on Sheet 41. I just can't believe that Pier 1 doesn't have bearing piles.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

It does seem suspect but I'd have to guess that they are out of the soft material at Pier 1?

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Thanks, PEinc. Looking at the plans closely, I'll wager the original design was for all piers to be pile supported but with SSP around Pier 1 (located in Miami River flood plain) for potential erosion control. The Engineer must have noticed that with the SSP containing the soil, the pile could be deleted for Pier 1 (in a somewhat misguided cost control measure, as noted by both you and OG).

This would explain why Pier 1 is sized in both plan and elevation exactly like the other 3 piers.

From my time in Dayton, I know the consequences of the 1913 flood were a big deal and were taken seriously. There are large flood control dams and similar projects all over the Miami Valley... and 1953 was within living memory of that flood.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

The old SP-4 (or PSA28) SSP from Bethlehem Steel had a section modulus of 2.4 to 2.5 in.3/LF of wall. I would be surprised if the SP-4 was capable of supporting the combined axial and bending stresses from 2.45 tsf [= (72 piles x 60 tons)/(110'L x 16'W)] footing load plus lateral active earth pressure when scour occurs (unless scour is very minor). This doesn't even consider settlement of the pier when the sheeting bulges out due to bending/deflection.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

(OP)
Great discussion everyone.
The plans were first prepared in March of 1953, but the Pier 1 revision is dated October 1953. So the sheet piling was a change. All the pier footings are at the same elevation, but Pier 1 is the only one that is out of the water. It would make no sense that I can think of for the pier on land to have added sheet pile by revision if it also had H-piles under the footing. So I agree with SRE that the H-piles were probably removed from Pier 1.

In my experience driving H-piles in the river in Dayton, it can be some hard driving conditions with cobbles and boulders. We have had the best results using 16-inch pipe piles with 1/2 inch walls and conical points. Maybe they had enough problems with driving the H-piles that they decided it wasn't worth it on the pier that was on land.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

"Maybe they had enough problems with driving the H-piles that they decided it wasn't worth it on the pier that was on land."
So why would they think that it would be any easier to drive thin, narrow SSP instead of H-Piles? The SSP at Pier 1 does not look to me like bearing piles but does look like scour protection. If so, why would they worry about scour for a land pier but not the river piers? I guess they didn't worry about losing soil from around the bearing piles of the river piers. Strange.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Looking at the photo, maybe one pier is a "land pier", but this site likely can get high flood waters and then it no longer is a "land pier". Only slightly safer than "water piers" as to risks in the future.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

I agree. But that does not explain why Pier 1 may have no bearing piles or how the SSP will prevent Pier 1 from, at least, settling or, at worst, even failing from scour. Maybe the SSP was designed to retain the soil under the pier when scour occurs while at the same time supporting the surcharge from the pier footing that does not have bearing piles. We can't check this without knowing the depth of scour below the pier foundation, the SSP length and yield Stress, soil properties, and if the Pier 1 foundation has bearing piles. I don't think the plans are very clear as to whether or not there are piles under Pier 1.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

No way to know those sheet piles are the length shown on the plan. Could be sufficient hard stuff there that it is a good footing even in heavy flood times with short sheet piles, not meting plan lengths.. Has done so far as OK. Again, not a state DOT job, so who known.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

I can't get a preview of those pages so excuse me if this is already stated in the book. I don't know enough about integral bridges but I remember someone telling me an integral abutment has to take relatively more lateral force than traditional bridges. Does that mean you want a pretty stout abutment that doesn't move at all or is a flexible foundation preferred? And in this case, why did they opt for sheetpiles instead of steel H-piles at the abutment location? I would think the connections for H-piles would be better suited for the lateral loads than the sheetpiles.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

For some reason I cant see page 4 and 5 now either. It only had a paragraph or two on this bridge. I think it mentioned that this bridge was one of the first multi span bridges that didnt use rivets to connect girders.

I'm not an expert, but i think the general concept is you have a flexible substructure with a rigid superstructure that acts as a giant strut. The ones around here typically have piles with their weak axis in line with the bridge deck.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

You forgot to crop out the "Copyrighted Material" noevil

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

Two pages, made available to the public by Google Books (who are strictly observant of copyright issues)... see "fair use".

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

I was just kidding.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

No problem, this is a serious subject. I had a first-hand experience with copyright infringement about 12 years ago (I was the guilty party who posted 1930's, but currently copyrighted material on my website.) Out of the blue, received an authoritative email from the copyright owner (a well-known and respected concrete industry association). To make a long story short, I literally called them the same day, admitted my guilt, removed the links on my website, and deleted the copyrighted material from my website's server. Fortunately we parted company on very good terms, without repercussions.

Made it a point to get as good a working knowledge of (US) copyright law as possible. Maintain a FAQ on the basics on the History Forum: Link.
Plan to update the FAQ, on or about 1 Jan 2020, everything printed and copyrighted in 1924 (that has not already) enters the public domain on that date.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

(OP)
Bobby46, this bridge does not have integral abutments. As you noted, it was in the book as having bolted field splices.
You can see the expansion joints on Google Streetview.
The author of this book, Marty Burke, worked at ODOT and was the big proponent of the integral and semi-integral abutments. He is a big reason why Ohio was in the forefront of adopting this technology. Two of my coworkers worked with Mary when he was at ODOT.

RE: Bridge pier footing with sheet piling

You're definitely right. I just assumed it was an integral abutment bridge based on the title of the book. Back to the drawing board...

Edit: Picture was from the next bridge downstream

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