Minipile Milestone in Memphis

by Loren D. Flick, Sr. Eng.; Wiss, Janney Elstner Assoc., Denver, CO,
A. E. Ted Graham, Assoc. Vice Pres.; Greiner, Tampa, FL,
Michael J. Marasa, Manager, Construction Services; Ogden Environmental & Energy Services, Nashville, TN,
Nigel B. R. Osborn, Branch Mgr.; Hayward Baker, Inc., Tampa, FL,
Frank T. Tobey, III, (M.ASCE), Resident Mgr.; Memphis Area Transit Authority, Memphis, TN,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 9, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article


The maintenance/administration facility for Memphis, Tennessee's 300-bus fleet began displaying structural problems before it even opened for service in 1979. The 23 acre complex is built on a landfill, which settled during construction. Some of the buildings have suffered differential settlement of as much as 18 in. and the paved parking areas settled as much as 3 ft in places. The excessive settling has wreaked havoc not only on buildings, but on buried utilities and the everyday function of getting people and buses around the site. As a result, both technical and administrative innovation was needed to rescue the four sinking buildings. On the technical side, engineers specified driven piles and more than 100 jet-grouted minipiles, setting a record for North America, to help stabilize the buildings. On the administrative side, the Memphis Area Transit Authority opted for a design-build, best value contract that combined a bidder's technical and cost proposals, and specified a demonstration phase (to protect itself from claims) before selecting the winning bid.

Subject Headings: Buildings | Utilities | Structural settlement | Parking facilities | Micro piles | Maintenance and operation | Landfills

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