November 15, 2012
Preparations underway for pile testing for
Bonner Bridge replacement project
Banks residents and visitors will soon begin seeing barges and heavy
equipment moving into Oregon Inlet near the Bonner Bridge as the North
Carolina Department of Transportation prepares to start pile testing
for the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project in Dare County. Piles are
large columns positioned in the earth to support a bridge.
pile testing is necessary before construction can begin on the new
Bonner Bridge. The tests will verify the engineer’s estimates of how
much weight the piles can safely bear. This process will ensure that
the bridge’s design is sound and buildable.
loaded with materials and equipment will travel from Chesapeake, Va.,
to Oregon Inlet, arriving as early as Friday, Nov. 16, weather
permitting. Once that happens, the following steps will take place:
will begin constructing a temporary positioning device that will hold
the piles in place during testing. This will take about two weeks to
Crews will then place some of the test piles into the
ground in the footprint of the new bridge. These piles will go 110 feet
deep into the earth, making them some of the deepest jetted piles along
the East Coast.
After perfecting the pile installation process,
the contractor will start in early January testing how much weight the
piles can bear. Three hydraulic jacks will use force to measure each
pile’s ability to support weight, ranging from 3 million pounds to 3.6
million pounds. The average bridge pile supports about 500,000 pounds.
pile testing is scheduled to be complete by mid-January. At that time,
crews will remove the piles and the positioning device and ship them by
barge back to Virginia.
The work will have no impact on
NCDOT’s dedicated effort to repair, reconstruct, and reopen Highway 12
to traffic in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy and the northeaster.
testing, the barges will not block the navigational channel in Oregon
Inlet. NCDOT advises mariners to avoid the areas where the barges
are located to ensure safety. They will be marked in accordance with
U.S. Coast Guard guidelines.
NCDOT is actively moving
forward with the Bonner Bridge replacement project. Design work is 75
percent complete, and the department expects to begin construction in
early 2013, pending the results of an ongoing lawsuit to stop the
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To watch a visualization of what the new Bonner Bridge will look like, visit the NCDOT YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15DKyJvG3Qc.