Skilled Pile Driving Team Drives Success on Interstate 5
When you’re in charge of one of the largest pile driving construction projects in California, having a highly skilled pile driving team is essential for success.
Flatiron Construction is completely reconstructing a 1.25-mile section of Interstate 5 in Los Angeles County, Calif., which is part of the overall I-5 Corridor Improvements project for Caltrans. The project involves removal of the existing two-lane Carmenita bridge, construction of a new ten-lane cast-in-place box girder bridge with tight diamond ramps, improving the frontage roads and widening the main roadway. This includes nearly 3,000 steel pipe piles on the main bridge substructure—making pile driving a more than $16 million piece of the $86 million project.
“Pile driving accounts for 20 percent of our project, so our success depends heavily on that particular team,” says project manager Andy Boswell. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have such a skilled pile driving crew on our project.”
Pile driving operations on the project began in December and crews are approximately 25 percent complete and exceeding their daily goal of piles driven—impressive considering the environmental precautions required.
“We’re expanding the freeway, which means driving piles into a wide variety of land parcels,” explains structures superintendent Joe Bielasz. “Because we’re working on potentially contaminated sites, we have to treat them as contaminated until we can test the soil, characterize it, and then come up with a disposal plan—and we’re facing this every day.”
Environmental challenges haven’t slowed the team down. The team maintains an outstanding safety record, and as of press time has had no recordable or lost-time incidents.
“That’s a big deal to us for the entire project team, and on this team we’re especially proud considering the high-risk nature of the pile driving operations,” advises Andy. “These workers are so conscientious, just eating, breathing, sleeping pile driving. It certainly makes a big difference.”
With the pile driving operations underway and scheduled to be complete in October, the project team will focus on substructure construction over the next few months, starting the realignment of the frontage road and building columns with falsework this summer. The project is slated for completion in 2015.