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Repairing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

  1. Aug 30, 2012 #1
    I recall several years ago a ship damaged the Chesapeake Bay Bridge by plowing through it and taking out several sections.

    I have always wondered how they fixed the piling that supports the structure. Since both ends of the damaged portion of the bridge remained, the pilings in the damaged area would have to be driven in the same location as the ones sheared off in the accident.

    Can they do that? Are the damaged ends squared up and a new piling driven in the same spot?

    Or can they just put forms on the damaged end and pour concrete and extend the existing ones?

    How do they affix the rebar, and also, once salt water contacts the damaged portion of the concrete piling, isn't there a problem with the chloride in the fracture area a potential problem in the future?

    Or, can they just vary the locations of the replacement pilings to avoid the damaged ones and put the bridge back together with a bit of variation in the span length?

    It's an amazing bridge, I've never been able to drive over it however.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2012 #2


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    Can you post a link to an article detailing the incident you're referring to? The only "incident" I could find was at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (different from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge). The USS Yancey collided with the tunnel bridge during a storm in 1970.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Yancey_(AKA-93 [Broken])
    https://catalyst.library.jhu.edu/catalog/bib_3696520 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Aug 30, 2012 #3
    In general a bridge superstructure is not rigidly connected to it foundations.

    So collisions rarely have a great effect at depth.

    I do have a humerous story about another bridge strike that I was called out to.
  5. Aug 31, 2012 #4
    I left 'tunnel' off the OP because I didn't want to be confusing. The Yancey nailed the bridge portion in any event, not the tunnel portion(s). Knocked out quite a chunk.

    Can we post pics here somehow?

    In any event, in regards to any bridge with a pier knocked out by any ship, how do they put a pier back in the same spot if there is damaged piling and foundation structure where the repairs need to go ??
  6. Aug 31, 2012 #5
    will try to post pic

    Attached Files:

  7. Aug 31, 2012 #6
    Did you not read my last post?
    All that you can see in your picture is superstructure.

    I have no knowledge of this bridge, but why would they need to replace the elements exactly?

    New piles could have been set alongside the old ones.
    The old piles could have been extracted and replaced.
    Work could have been carried out via a coffer dam or diving bell.
    The deck spans could have been varied to suit any new support spacings.

    Is there not a local historical archive you can consult?
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  8. Aug 31, 2012 #7

    Thanks for your help though, interesting considering what I have been through today.
  9. Sep 4, 2012 #8


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    Well it sounds to me like you're going to have to go find out for yourself. Good luck, but be nicer to the librarian if you want useful help.
  10. Sep 4, 2012 #9


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    Question answered as best it can be, nothing useful left to gain, thread locked.
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