American Society of Civil Engineers

Case History: The Collapse of Closed-End Pipe Piles—The Problem and Solution

by Emad Farouz, (Regional Technology Leader for Geotechnical Engineering with CH2M HILL. 13921 Park Center Road, Suite 600, Herndon, VA 20071 E-mail: and Kyle Ott, (Senior Supervising Engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoff, One Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10019 E-mail:

pp. 570-586, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Deep Foundations 2002: An International Perspective on Theory, Design, Construction, and Performance
Abstract: This paper evaluates the reasons for pile sweep ("dog-legging") and collapse during pile-driving operations for the pier foundations of the Conrail Crossing Bridge on the Waterfront light-rail line in Cleveland, Ohio. The pile foundations consisted of 355-millimeter (mm) [14-inch], closed-end, steel-pipe piles that were driven and then filled with concrete. The piles tended to sweep and, in some instances, they collapsed when driven using equipment without lateral support (free leads or a pile template). For the foundation construction of the bridge abutments, which were completed under a different construction contract, similar piles were driven with equipment with lateral support (fixed-lead). This paper discusses the problems of pile sweep and collapse, their potential causes, and the relevance of using of free leads vs. fixed leads. Finally, the paper presents a hypothesis for the problem and conclusion.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Case studies
Deep foundations
Pile driving
Pipe piles