News Archive

Construction Augers in Structurally Deficient Bridges and Roads
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association recently conducted an analysis of the nation’s bridges and roads. The structural deficiencies uncovered by that study have proven rather eye-opening and have led to much discussion about the safety of the American transportation circuits.

Although it will take some time and dedication to rectify these issues, the good news is that with the right equipment, U.S. roadways and bridges can be made safer. And construction augers are one of the types of equipment that will help make traveling the country’s highways and byways a less worrisome proposition.

During their fact-finding efforts, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association discovered that 61,000 U.S. bridges are 'structurally deficient.' While that might sound like an alarming figure, it is actually an improvement over the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2014 records, which indicate that 63,000 of the nation’s bridges were had structural deficiencies. Those figures amount to approximately one in nine bridges across America posing a danger to road travelers.

To be sure, the improvement is a slow one, at only 3 percent over the one-year time period. Indeed, as “USA Today” pointed out in reporting this matter, “There's currently a backlog of more than $115 billion in bridge work and $755 billion in highway projects throughout the country, according to Department of Transportation data.” Nevertheless any progress is certainly better than no progress, and construction augers can help ‘pave’ the way toward continual improvement of the country’s bridge and highway systems.

How exactly can construction augers help the United States overcome its crumbling roadways and bridges? As Wikipedia explains, “In construction, augers are used for special drilling rigs to dig holes for deep foundation piles.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Association offers further information about such piles. In a document titled “Design and Construction of Continuous Flight Auger Piles,” the association differentiates between two types of continuous flight auger (CFA) piles: single piles and pile groups. The latter type is most commonly installed in bridges and other large structural foundations.

These continuous flight auger piles, as the association points out, are a feasible alternative to other types of deep foundations for bridges” under favorable conditions. What kinds of bridges are most amenable to CFA pile foundations? The Federal Highway Association lists three specific types: 1) interchange structures; 2) approach structures; and 3) structures involving bridge widening.

Continuous flight auger piles are also quite effective in situations where noise and vibration are hard to handle. Moreover, they provide advantages over other types of structural foundations, in particular driven piles, in terms of both cost and speed.

With respect to roadways, augers play a major role in determining the smoothness of the surface. “Roads & Bridges” magazine explains that augers’ height adjustability is the key impact on the paving texture. Set it too low and texture stripes result. Conversely, setting the auger height too high results in the screed riding up. A paved roadway’s uniform appearance is dependent upon getting the auger height just right.

Augers are a vital component in not only getting the country’s bridges and roadways up to snuff but also making road travel a safer and more enjoyable experience.