Cooperative Effort Overcomes Problems With Pier And Cofferdam Construction Caused By Rock Slope

Darling, Herbert F. ?Buck?
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
A bridge replacement project in Rochester, NY, encountered difficulties when it was determined that rock below one pier was sloping downward toward the river at an angle of 42 degrees versus anticipated 12 degrees. Cofferdam design and construction became very difficult. The unanticipated subsurface conditions delayed the project by eighteen months and increased the cofferdam cost by almost $3.0 million ($US) when direct costs and associated delays were taken into account. The initial approach after discovery of the problem was to use the same type pier design and modify the cofferdam accordingly. This resulted in a cofferdam 12 meters (39.4 feet) deep on the shore side and 18 meters (59.0 feet) deep on the water side. The design used a master pile system to attain required wall strength and used rock anchors to prevent the cofferdam from moving toward the river. The pier foundation was then redesigned by the owner using revised seismic parameters. The original stepped footing carved into rock was replaced by caissons socketed into the rock beneath a large tremie concrete placement. The revised pier and cofferdam designs caused a shift from a mostly land based cofferdam, excavation, and rock removal project into an almost entirely water based cofferdam, caisson drilling, and tremie construction project. These design changes resulted in a reliable, safe, and unusual cofferdam and construction method. All of this was accomplished within a very narrow worksite with a railroad on one side, and the river with its public and commercial freighter traffic on the other. In addition, the existing two-leaf drawbridge was to be maintained in place which put further limitations on the water borne equipment. The engineering and construction considerations, problems, and solutions related to these cofferdams and pier foundations are presented.
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