The Superdome Foundation

by Thor L. Anderson, (M.ASCE), Asst. Vice Pres. and Pheonix Regional Mgr.; Sverdrup & Parcel and Assoc., Inc., Tempe, Ariz.,
Melvin C. Williams, (M.ASCE), Resident Engr.; Louisiana Stadium Project, Sverdrup & Parcel and Assoc., Inc., New Orleans, La.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 1, Pg. 81-98

Document Type: Journal Paper


The Louisiana Superdome is founded on 14-in. (355 mm) square precast prestressed concrete piling driven to 165 ft (50 m). Alternate strata of soft clays and sand occur to about 100-ft (30 m) depth. Below, firm clays above very stiff preconsolidated clays provided the principal supporting strata. The design concept uses individual pile caps interconnected by a braced superstructure to distribute and minimize differential settlements. During the early pile driving, a rejection rate of about 8% occurred, far exceeding the 3% to 5% expected. A detailed analysis of pile manufacture, shipping and driving identified possible causes of the high rejection rate. Added pile tests also verified both the acceptance and the rejection criteria. No single variable was isolated as the rejection cause, but by eliminating many minor imperfections rejections were reduced to less than 3%. Periodic readings at various stages of construction show settlements between 0.5-in. (13 mm) to 1-in. (25 mm). Differential settlements between adjacent columns have stabilized at about 0.25-in. (7 mm) maximum well below the 0.5-in. (13 mm) design allowable.

Subject Headings: Clays | Foundations | Precast concrete | Soft soils | Consolidated soils | Pile settlement | Differential settlement | Pile tests | Louisiana | United States

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