Thompson Run Bridge Distresses: An Investigation

by Milan Spanovich, (F.ASCE), Principal Engineer; Engrg. Mech., Inc., Consulting Geotechnical Engrs., Pittsburgh, Pa.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 8, Pg. 1072-1082

Document Type: Journal Paper


The failure of a pile-supported four lane highway bridge abutment overlying a 100-ft-high fill embankment was investigated. Subsurface data from the original bridge foundation design investigation and existing construction records were analyzed and correlated with additional subsurface explorations. The abutment movements were monitored employing standard surveying methods while the earth embankment was being monitored with slope indicators. The skin-friction loads transferred to the piles substantially exceeded the design load, resulting in the vertical displacement of those piles which did not reach bedrock. The major settlement of the abutment occurred where an existing fill of relatively high compressibility was surcharged by the newly placed embankment fill which the piles penetrated. Re-design and construction resulted in the employment of cast-in-place drilled caissons (bored piles) for support.

Subject Headings: Bored piles | Infrastructure construction | Bridge abutments | Fills | Subsurface investigation | Bridge design | Bridges | Highway bridges

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