Joint SEI/DVGI Presentation and Dinner Meeting

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I-495 Bridge in Wilmington, Delaware:  Pier Foundation Failure due to Lateral Squeeze, Emergency Response Underpinning and Superstructure Repairs - 1.0 PDH

Valley Forge Casino Resort (formerly Radisson)
1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406

$45 per attendee; $10 for students (first 20); $10 dinner surcharge for registration after March 13, 2015

The I-495 Bridge over the Christina River in Wilmington, DE was closed to traffic on June 2, 2014 due to serious substructure settlement and lateral displacement of the existing pile foundations which resulted in gross deformation of the superstructure and insufficient load carrying capacity.  The bridge closure affected over 90,000 daily motorists and impacted the flow of goods to and from the nearby Port of Wilmington.  A soil stockpile located adjacent to bridge piers caused significant subsurface lateral deformations in a highly compressible clay layer.  The impacted section of the bridge consisted of parallel structures supported by pairs of single shaft, hammerhead pier columns founded on groups of steel H-piles, approximately 140 feet long.  The existing piles were driven through 100 feet of soft marine clay to a competent stratum of decomposed bedrock.  The stockpile induced lateral squeeze effects through the saturated clay layer applying excessive lateral load on the pile groups which deformed the piles at four pier locations and caused the bridge piers to tilt and displace laterally. A team, composed of DelDOT, FHWA, AECOM and J.D. Eckman was assembled to restore the bridge to service as soon as possible while mitigating traffic disruptions.  This dictated the retention of the existing superstructure by restoring it to its original geometry.  The restoration was achieved by jacking the superstructure onto temporary towers followed by permanent construction on new foundations.  This presentation provides a case history of the operational, design and construction challenges encountered in handling this emergency including: early structural and geotechnical investigations; assessment of the failure mode; and, critical decisions that framed the selected intermediate and permanent repair methods.

Bruce Shelly, PE:  Bruce has nearly 30 years of Geotechnical Experience starting out his career working in the Soils Unit at PennDOT Dist 6-0 where the Design of all sections of the new "Blue Route" was in full gear.  After working for PennDOT for 20 years, Bruce joined AECOM, overseeing the Geotechnical work and managing the Mid Atlantic region. Bruce has extensive experience in all aspects of transportation as well as environmental and marine foundations.  Bruce earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Penn State University and remains current by assiduously observing the Earth and attending Geotechnical related seminars.

John Milius, PE: John Milius has 20 years experience as a structural engineer for the rehabilitation, design and construction of a wide range of structures.  John is accomplished in the analysis and design of complex highway and railroad bridges. John currently serves as the Structures Department Manager in the AECOM Philadelphia office and also serves on the SEI Board.  John holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University, a Masters of Engineering in Structural Engineering from Cornell University, and a MBA from Villanova University.

Meeting schedule:
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm  Social and Registration
6:30 pm - 7:15 pm  Dinner (chicken/fish/vegetarian) - please note preference in response 
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm  Program

To register (REQUIRED):
Please register at
While web registration and credit card payment is preferable, you may register for the dinner meeting by faxing the attached form to Mr. Jay McKelvey III PE at (610) 277-0878.  Registration Form

Send Checks by Friday, March 13, 2015, payable to DVGI To:
Mr. Jay McKelvey III PE
Earth Engineering Inc.
115 W. Germantown Pike, Suite 200
East Norristown, PA 19401
tel (610) 277-0880