Warm Weather = Building and Road Construction + Auger PilingMonday, April 18, 2016
The warm weather season is fast approaching, and there is perhaps no bigger sign that spring has arrived than road construction and other general construction projects. As the ground unfreezes, building repair and replacement work begins in earnest. And all that road construction and building wouldn’t be half as efficient if not for the aid of auger piling.
Auger piles come in a variety of styles, but the ones most associated with building and road construction like bridges are of the continuous flight auger pile variety. CFA for short and sometimes also referred to as auger cast piles, continuous flight auger piles allow for the drilling and removal of soil and rock when new bridges are put in place. Some of the advantages associated with this type of augering is that it is the quietest auger form. It is also fast and economical.
The “cast” part of the auger cast name comes from the fact that these piles are cast in place, thereby serving as a foundational element in the early phases of the construction project. A hollow stem auger with continuous flights positions the equipment. Drilling through rock or soil to the desired depth then takes place. When it reaches its destination, the auger is extracted slowly. The rock and soil it loosened on its way down is removed with it. In the auger and debris’ place, reinforcing steel is lowered into the wet concrete or grout. The end result of this augering process provides solid support for a bridge, building or other form of construction.
The importance of auger piling in road construction projects becomes apparent when one considers that there are over 600,000 bridges in the United States alone. And structurally speaking, 61,000 of them are deficient, according to recent analysis by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. That means more than one in 10 of the nation’s bridges are not up to code.
President Obama recently signed into law a bill that will put $305 billion toward road construction projects like bridge repair, replacement and expansion. Almost all such projects will require the use of auger piles.
Some recent local headlines drive home the importance of auger piling in some rather unique construction projects. One case in point is in Cleveland, Ohio, where the final phase of a construction project will “include [a] 21-day bridge rebuild,” according to Construction Equipment Guide. This project will also involve the “construction of the retaining walls going up for the multi-use bike path.” It’s here where continuous flight auger piles will come into play.
Jim Fox, Great Lakes vice president of operations, where the project is taking place, says, “That's a big part of the heavy civil work,” said Fox. “It's sheet piling, both temporary and permanent sheeting installed this phase, along with the soldier piles — using the continuous flight auger method. It's unique and is a value-engineering proposal that Goettle, our subcontractor suggested to ODOT. It has saved time and money. That is a big part of what we are doing now.”