The “APE OctaKong” project revolutionized the way cofferdams could be driven at sea when it drove 120 piles at 72 foot in diameter to grade in 6 months. The “Tandem 200-6 Special” project revolutionized the way cell walls could be driven when it drove 240 single cell sheet walls at 37 foot wide. Now another revolution is taking place; Underwater soil compaction.
In between the two man-made islands for the Hong Kong Macao Bridge will be a 5,000m long tunnel. To build the tunnel they will use pre-made concrete sections that will be lowered onto the sea floor. Once all the tunnel sections have been lowered into place the water will be pumped out and a tunnel will be created. However, before the tunnel sections can be lowered down on the sea floor the ground must be hardened and flat. Traditional methods would required a large weight to be repeatedly dropped onto the gravel below until the ground is hardened to the required level, but when compacting soil at sea the accuracy of dropping a weight can be slow and tricky. Therefore, a method was created to use a 40 ton steel plate, that looks like a big clothing iron, connected to a single APE model 600 vibratory hammer. After the gravel is poured on the ocean floor the APE 600, using 550 tons of driving force, compacts the gravel to near perfect flatness. Much like ironing a wrinkled shirt, the sea floor is ironed out.
The only difference being that its down 50m underwater in complete darkness. With special sensors and GPS devices the APE 600’s location is known by operators of the ship above, even during continually changing currents. APE’s hammer are known to have underwater capabilities far superior to other vibratory hammer models in the market, but this job requires the hammer stay underwater for 4-5 days at a time at 50m deep working 24 hours a day. This would be the most rigorous underwater job ever done using APE equipment and the engineering limits of the APE 600 again would be tested, especially because the project will be 18 months long. After 1 month of operation the project has been a complete success. Today the 600 was pulled out of the water after it’s fourth 5 day dive and all indications show zero seawater entered the gearbox and all systems normal. We hope to see more contractors using this method in the future for underwater soil compaction jobs in the future. For more information of this project or information on underwater pile driving please feel free contact David White of APE China.
We recently received the 2012 January – February issue of International Construction Magazine, and we are more than pleased to see an article on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project where the APE OctaKong was driving the largest diameter piles every driven in history. For those of you unfamiliar with the project, here is a rundown on the scope of the project courtesy of Wikipedia:
“The in-construction Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is a series of bridges and tunnels that will connect Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai, three major cities situated on the Pearl River Delta in southern China. The proposed 50 km (31 mi) link is expected to cost US$10.7 billion. With its length, it would become one of the landmarks within the area. The longest bridge section will be 22.8 km (14.2 mi) long and include three cable-stayed spans between 280 m (920 ft) and 460 m (1,510 ft). Construction formally began on 15 December 2009. The bridge is due for completion in 2016.”
David White, Director of Operations of the APE China Office and Manufacturing facility wrote an article back in December detailing the role that APE and our team played in constructing the foundation for the reclaimed islands of the bridge, this was after the final pile had been driven. During the process we have written several more articles with details on the construction of the bridge and APE’s continued involvement. We look forward to helping the Chinese build quality foundations for any of their coming construction projects. Below are the links to all of the articles we have written over the past year on the OctaKong and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge:
- Final 72′ Pile Driven to Grade, OctaKong Project Finished
- APE Drives the World’s Largest Pile!
- APE China Successfully Drove the World’s Largest Sheet Pile
- Octakong and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
- APE China Successfully Tests Tandem 200-6
- When the Competition Says “They Can Do It”… Talk to Someone Who Has “DONE IT” Call APE!
The Seattle Times just posted a news article this morning about the new 520 floating bridge project spanning Lake Washington just east of Seattle. The bridge has been in development for last couple years, with dry dock construction for the pontoon sections taking place in Aberdeen Washington (See Chris Wang’s article on the dry docks here). Construction on the actual bridge site has been in the prepping phases and is now ready for major foundation work which is slated to start next week.
The coming weeks will include huge foundations and concrete spans near shore, twin sloping transition spans that reach down to the lake, floating pontoons, and road decks fastened upon them. APE will be on the scene with a 600 Vibratory Driver extractor, the largest vibratory pile driver in the APE fleet will be pulling the outer casing for 12.5′ drilled shafts. We will also see an APE 200-6 driving the sheet piles for the cofferdams. See the Seattle Times new article here http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017862072_520bridge29m.html for more details.
San Francisco, the city by the bay. California is steadily rebuilding some of its world renown monuments. Pier 19 located in San Francisco California is one of them. The rebuilding of pier 19 has been long overdue with tourism still in full swing with cruise ships coming and going out of the port. After the demoltion of the pier, the first order of things is, of course, the foundation.
Seen here, Power Engineering of Northern California is antalling 72” diameter steel pipe pile 160’ long with a 1” wall thickness. Driving these steel casings wasn’t going to be easy with all the restrictions enforced on the job. Tight work space with little room to manuever and all the regulations involved made this job a chelleng. So when they decided to take on the job, they called APE to get the equipment they needed. With the tough Merrit Sands and the sticky Bay Mud here in the bay, they chose the APE 600 Vibro to do the job. And of course the 600 vibro wouldn’t let them down, it got the pile down!
Along with the on-going demolition of the Alaska way viaduct, a Seattle landmark second only to the Space Needle, rises a new attraction on Pier 57- a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Pier 57 was originally built in 1902 as a rail-loading facility for a saw mill. Today, it houses a plethora of marine-oriented shops, restaurants, and even an antique carousel. Hal Griffith, owner of Pier 57, fears losing business due to the viaduct replacement and hopes a new waterfront attraction will keep the publics’ interest alive. With the loss of the Fun Forest at the Seattle Center, this will be the only Ferris wheel available in the city. Once completed with 41 air conditioned gondolas, it should prove to be quite an accommodating attraction to locals and tourists alike.
Manson Construction, a major player here in the PNW, was chosen to drive the foundation piles of this soon-to-be “landmark” on the water ward side of the existing pier. With a total of 53- 36” x .5” wall and 30” x .625” wall pipe piles on deck, the Manson crew set out to drive these piles with the APE Super Kong. What else would you want driving the piles for a 175-foot marine based Ferris wheel, right?
So far, the Manson crew has driven a dozen test piles. With some fine tuning of the equipment to account for the infamous Glacial till the Northwest is known for, the 150’ piles are down to grade. Some were driven only a couple of feet away from the Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar. Needless to say, some diners became spectators and spectators became diners. Fair trade.
Today, the Manson crew is running production piles. Most are on 4:1 fore and aft batters. To accommodate the tight driving schedule and the layout of the pile driving grid, APE and Manson teamed up to outfit the Super Kong with a custom vibro sled fit for Manson’s leader system, as well as a custom swing arm pile gate. More pictures and updates to come!