Design Of Cooper River Bridge Foundations

Safaqah, Osama
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
The new Cooper River Bridge will replace two existing bridges along U.S. Highway 17. The cable-stayed bridge will be one of the largest in the U.S and will connect the City of Charleston and the town of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The 1,546-foot long main span over Cooper River is supported by two diamond-shaped towers and will allow for 1000-foot wide navigation channel. The Charleston high-level approach is approximately 4351-foot long and will provide 250-foot wide navigation channel over Town Creek, while the Mount Pleasant high-level approach is 2090-foot long. Due to the high seismicity in the region, potential vessel impact, and hurricanes, large lateral loads are expected. Among various types of foundations, 10-foot diameter drilled shafts were selected for their high capacity against lateral loading. The shafts are founded on a stiff to very stiff lightly cemented calcareous sandy clay or sandy silt layer, called Cooper Marl, which underlies coastal sediments of interbedded clays and sands. The main towers will be supported on a group of 11 shafts and protected from ship collision by a rock island. The High Level Approach piers will be supported on a pair of 2 shafts. The shaft tip elevation is up to 230 feet below water line. An elaborate geotechnical investigation has been conducted on the site including a load test program on full-scale shafts under axial and lateral loads. The results of the tests were used to calibrate the lateral and axial soil resistance. The objective of this paper is to present the different aspects of the bridge foundation design.
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