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CASE HISTORY:

Design, Construction, and Performance


of Stone Column Ground Improvement
beneath an MSE Wall
37th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations
Houston, TX October 16-19, 2012

Karen Dawson, P.E. & Sean Shin, Ph.D, P.E., CH2M HILL, Bellevue, WA, USA
Suthan Pooranampillai, Ph.D., AMEC E&I, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Dominic Parmantier, P.E., Condon Johnson & Associates, Inc., Kent, WA, USA

Presentation Overview

Description
Project
Subsurface Conditions
Design Considerations and
Methods
Construction
Layout
Equipment
Quality
Observations
Conclusions

Project Location

Subsurface Conditions
ML with occasional layers of MH,
CL, SM, and OL. Some gravel in
lower interbeds
Properties
PI = generally 0 to 15,
occasionally >20
Zones with organics (LOI up to 7%)
Cc = 0.14
c = 1.6 ft2/day
C = 0.005
pH = 4.5 and 5.9
Resistivity = 225 to 8200 -cm
Liquefiable under design 0.27 g
PGA

Roadway Features

New bridge abutment and approach embankment up to 50


high
Walls ~700 long required because of space limitations
Time available for preloading

Need for Ground Improvement

Liquefiable soils
Maintain global stability during seismic event
Secondary benefit - Limit consolidation settlement of wall

Global Stability Cases


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Static long-term
Static construction (included preload)
Start of shaking
During shaking
Post shaking

Design Steps
1.

Defined allowable post-earthquake deformations


< 6 at bridge abutment
< 12 wall away from abutment

2.

Determined yield accelerations that would result in allowable


deformations (Bray and Travasarou, 2007)

3.

Determine composite strength from global stability analyses

Design Steps Continued


4.

5.

Determine AR to provide composite strength

Used = 40 degrees for stone

Used equations by Priebe (1995) to develop composite

Increased stiffness from columns resulted in reduction in CSR


(Baez and Martin, 1993; Priebe, 1998) so that native soil
between columns was no longer liquefiable.

Use ground improvement factor (Priebe, 1995) to estimate


primary consolidation

Final Design

AR = 15%
10 month preload with 20% surcharge (additional criteria for
pavement: limit secondary compression to 2 in 15 years)
Instrumentation for settlement verification

Construction Contract Requirements

AR = 15%
Minimum column diameter = 30
qt > 110 tsf or N60 > 24 for clean or already dense layers
Yield plots to verify stone volume
Additional explorations to define bearing layer
Test sections
Verify diameter and volume of stone in layered stratigraphy
Verify equipment response indicates bearing layer reached
Verify continuous stone by sonic coring

Means and Methods

Bearing Layer
Verification
14 CPT
6 SPT
Total counting
owners
explorations ~
1 per 1,700 SF

Means and Methods

Layout
Triangular with 8 spacing and 3.25 diameter columns
Triangular with 11 spacing and 3.5 diameter through
existing embankment
RV WALL
O-1
69
O-1
71

D-56

8 ft

P-17
0

8 ft

D-54

AREA C

E-55

R-16
9
R-17
1

F-54

AREA A

F-56

Test Area
2

AREA B

Test Are
a

CS WALL

Means and Methods

Equipment
Manitowoc 4000 and 4100
crawler cranes
Dry bottom feed electric
probe (V23) 11.7 x 13.8,
2.4 tons, 34 tons dynamic
force

Means and Methods


After first test section, predrilled most holes (SR-60) 16 kelly

Means and Methods

Automated Data Acquisition System

Data Acquisition System Printout

High amperage at tip

Observations

Vibrations:
Mostly < 0.5 ips
Peak vector sum = 1.1 ips
with probe working 7 from
gas main.

Relatively clean core

Observations

Fines migration into


core was variable

Clean core

Dirty core

Observations

Fines migration continued


Correlation with
stratigraphy? Not that we
could tell.
Revised technique to
improve stone percentage
(e.g. shorter pulls, more
care in fully inserting probe
between pulls, changed air
pressure)

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Observations
Fines migration continued
Backcalculated c ignoring drainage to stone column
matches lab testing values and typical values in literature.
Laboratory average
cz = 1.6 ft2/day
Backcalc no radial drainage
cz = 1.5 to 2.0 ft2/day
Backcalc with drainage
cr ~ 0.5 ft2/day
cz ~ 0.05 ft2/day

Conclusions
1. Abundance of subsurface explorations is important for
planning and pay, especially in layered stratigraphy (1 per
2,000 SF+)
2. Automated data acquisition system is and excellent tool for
quality control, especially in silty soils with AR-based
performance
3. Rapid drainage through stone columns should not be
assumed.

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Items for Improvement?

Methods for verifying insitu strength of stone column in


AR-based design.

Questions?

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