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Mid-America Transportation Center

Evaluation of Pile Load Tests for Use in Missouri LRFD Guidelines

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Ronaldo Luna (rluna@mst.edu (573)341-4484)
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    The research approach involves two phases to achieve the appropriate levels of reliability for driven pile foundation in the state of Missouri. Phase I (this proposal): To develop a research grade static pile load test data set from a site in Missouri at previously characterized site. The test piles should be driven in accordance to industry and MoDOT standards including the special provisions for dynamic pile testing. Data collection of recent and available pile load test data in neighboring states will also be conducted in this initial Phase I. Phase 2: A potential future phase will use the lessons learned from Phase I and will include other static pile load test sites in other geologic regions in Missouri and combine other available driven pile load test data in neighboring states. Once all the data is collected and analyzed, a calibration or resistance factors will be conducted to evaluate its use in the Missouri LRFD guidelines. For this initial phase three (3) pile load test sites are being considered. The sites where the pile load test will be conducted will be within a MoDOT right-of-way and bridge structures that have a completed site characterization and in the process of being let for bid. Alternatively, MoDOT could perform a limited site characterization program to determine the subsurface conditions. It is anticipated that the pile load test program will be tied to an ongoing construction bridge project. The pile load tests will be sacrificial, purely for research purposes but with a potential to benefit the ongoing project.
    Research Objective
    To develop a research grade static pile load test data set from a site in Missouri at previously characterized site. The test piles should be driven in accordance to industry and MoDOT standards including the special provisions for dynamic pile testing. Data collection of recent and available pile load test data in neighboring states will also be conducted in this initial Phase I.
    Potential Benefits
    The current MoDOT Engineering Policy Guide (EPG) 751.36 for Driven Piles includes resistance factors to be used in the Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD). These resistance factors have been adopted from the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Manual (2010). These resistance factors at the national level tend to be in the conservative side and closely tied to the level of effort and engineering conducted during the installation of the foundation elements (static pile load and dynamic method tests). These series of pile load tests will provide a baseline for the new database to be used to calibrate the resistance factors for driven piles and published in the EPG of MoDOT.
    Abstract
    The current MoDOT Engineering Policy Guide (EPG) 751.36 for Driven Piles includes resistance factors to be used in the Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD). These resistance factors were adopted from the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Manual (2010). These resistance factors at the national level tend to be in the conservative side and closely tied to the level of effort and engineering conducted during the installation of the foundation elements (static pile load and dynamic method tests). A series of load tests (3) will be conducted at three construction bridge sites along the Missouri highway system. The results will be used to adjust the resistance factors that have been developed previously based on high strain dynamic methods only.
    Project Amount
    $ 50,113