Bridge foundation work starts |

Bridge foundation work starts

Tom Newland

Question: I noticed a lot of work going on in the Hot Springs parking lot. What going on over there, anyway?

Answer: What you are seeing is the beginning of work on the bridge foundations. Crews on the project have been drilling, installing, reinforcing and pouring the deep foundations for the bridge piers, known as “caissons.”

This work is happening in the north project area, between Sixth Street and River Street (Hot Springs Pool parking lot) and along Seventh on the south side of the street.

The “shaft casings” (cylinders of structural steel) are inserted into the ground while the drill bit extracts soil from the earth within the shaft casings, preventing the surrounding soil from falling into the newly dug hole. The casing is then filled with concrete to create the caisson.

Caissons are integral parts of the foundation of the piers that will hold up the new traffic bridge and pedestrian bridge. Because of the shallow water table next to the river, the casings fill up with water. As the concrete is poured into the casings, it pushes the water out, and that water is pumped into the tanks that are located next to the work area.

You can see the bridge pier foundation work from the temporary walkway.

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