Route 80 Willow Avenue Undercrossing

Name: Route 80 Willow Avenue Undercrossing 04-263724
Location: Hercules, California
Client: RM Harris Co., Inc.
Superintendent: John Honaker
Project Manager: Brandon Watson
Foreman: Dan Madigral
Contract Value: $1,301,000

167 - 14 inch square class 'X' PCPS piles, varying in length from 42 to 69 feet
20 - 14 diameter class 'R' pipe piles, 95 feet in length
6 - 60 diameter pipe piles, varying in length from 75 to 108 feet
4 - 72 diameter permanent CIDH casings

This 4.1 mile-long project will widen Route 80 in the eastbound direction, adding a high-occupancy vehicle lane between the Route 4 interchange and the Cummings Skyway Overcrossing. This includes the widening of the eastbound Willow Avenue Undercrossing, and construction of a new bridge at the eastbound Willow Avenue off-ramp, realignment of ramps and construction of new retaining walls. Project schedule was a tight 125 days. Foundation Constructors, Inc. (FCI) scope of work for this project consisted of driving 197 concrete and steel piles for a retaining wall, bridge abutment and bents at the Willow Avenue Undercrossing along Route 80.

FCI encountered numerous challenges in completing this project. Tight access on the project site required mobilization of equipment at night to avoid disruptions to traffic. Storage and off-loading of materials was also challenging due to tight access.

Driving piles in sloping sandstone required adaptation and modification of piles on site.
Due to the sloping sandstone, FCI adapted pile lengths in accordance with pile indicator results. This resulted in pile cut-offs sometimes in excess of the allowable 10 feet for this project. Daily consultation with Caltrans was necessary for approval of piles that were not driven to design tip elevation.

The D62 hammer recommended in the weep analysis results for the 60 diameter pipe pile and 72 diameter CIDH casing, did not drive the piles to a depth required to achieve the desired lateral resistance. FCI quickly switched out hammers, but unfortunately the larger hammer damaged the piles within the ground. Repairs for both pile types were quickly developed and implemented. For example, the damaged section of the 60 diameter pile was cut off and removed and a rock socket was added below the damaged section to achieve the desired capacity.

Utilization of a larger, higher tiered crane allowed for increased versatility, enabling Foundations to complete all work with one rig and to re-rig and change operations quickly to maintain schedule and productivity.

Pile installation was completed as of August 23, 2010, with no delays to schedule despite significant challenges. Foundation is proud to have received the 2011 PDCA Project of the Year Award for this project.