Settlement & Vibration Monitoring For Transmission Line Foundation Installation: A Case History

Forbes, R. Heath
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2011
The route of a new, 4-mile long, electrical transmission line passed through residential neighborhoods and commercial areas of a small town in the South Carolina Coastal Plain. The new line consisted of 54 new poles and a one-mile underground section. Most of the new poles were constructed within 50 ft of existing structures, and in some cases, within 8 ft to 20 ft. A widely-space subsurface exploration consisting of 20 cone penetration test soundings indicated the subsurface conditions along the alignment generally consisted of saturated, loose to medium dense, fine slightly silty to silty sand. The pole foundations consisted of 20 to 30 ft long, prefabricated ?caissons? (essentially an open-end pipe pile with a prefabricated connection system at the top) with diameters of 28 to 56 inches. The steel caissons were installed with vibratory pile hammers. To help prevent damage and defend against possible allegations from nearby property owners, vibration and settlement monitoring was performed during all foundation installation activities. Limited structural condition assessments were also performed before and after foundation installation. For 53 of the 54 foundations, the ground vibrations recorded at distances coincident with the nearest structure locations ranged from 0.05 inches per second to 1.46 inches per second. With consideration of the dominant frequency, the majority of these values were below the commonly used USBM vibration limits. For a foundation installation that was only 8 ft from the nearest structure, a peak particle velocity of 3.06 inches per second was recorded, which exceeded the USBM limits. For all cases, the measured ground surface settlement was negligible (i.e., less than ¾ inch). Several spurious claims alleging vibration-induced damage were made, but the monitoring program provided an adequate defense. One claim involving artwork that fell to the floor during foundation installation at a distance of 8 ft from the house was deemed legitimate.
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