Riddle of the Riverbed

by Kenneth D. Walsh, P.E., (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ 85287-0204,
Robert E. Schock, Vice President; Case Foundation Co., P.O. Box 40, Roselle, IL 60172,
Steven A. Jimenez, P.E., (M.ASCE), Sr. Proj. Mgr.; Arizona Dept. of Transportation, 205 South 17th Ave., Mail Drop 614E, Phoenix, AZ 85007,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 6, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


The design of the Salt River Viaduct as part of the Red Mountain Freeway in Phoenix, Arizona, presented unique geotechnical problems. A cemented silty clay layer underneath the surface sandy gravel and cobbles proved very difficult to characterize, but constraints of the project required that the foundations bear in this material. The Arizona Department of Transportation completed the Drilled Shaft Load Test Research Program to improve the understanding of the clay layer. The program provided increased allowable strengths, improved cost information, and constructibility information without derailing the fast-track design process. Thanks to these results, considerable savings in the finished product were realized.

Subject Headings: Layered soils | Clays | Soil cement | Load tests | Viaducts | Soil tests | Silt

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