Wicks, Fabrics and Sawdust Overcome Thick Mud

by Charles Seim, (F.ASCE), Senior V.P.; T.Y. Lin Int'l., San Francisco, Calif.,
J. B. Hannon, (M.ASCE), Senior Material and Research Engr.; Calif. Dept. of Transportation, Sacramento, Calif.,
T. J. Walsh, (M.ASCE), District Hydraulic Engr.; Calif. Dept. of Transportation, Sacramento, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1981, Vol. 51, Issue 7, Pg. 53-56

Document Type: Feature article


A new Dumbarton bridge is replacing the original which was built in 1927 to cross San Francisco Bay at its southern end. The bridge approaches are constructed on top of salt ponds, with mud depths as deep as 40 feet. To hasten settlement time, a new technology was used to drain water, wick drains. To accelerate consolidation, induce rapid strength grain, and minimize problems associated with long-term differential settlement, wick vertical drainage was used. Wicks are made from paper of plastic or both, and they are hammered down through mandrels. Drainage took about six months in lieu of four years.

Subject Headings: Drainage | Fabrics | Mud | Bridges | Bays | Light rail transit | Salts | Ponds

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