Nature needs to be respected. Even with our advanced technology and rigid safety measures, there’s always new trouble to be dealt with on a given day. Sudden weather changes, unpredictable soil, cracks and leaks are just a few concerns on the average builder’s checklist. Excavation support methods, from the ground up, need to make sure that every project is done thoroughly from start to finish. This means no detail left unnoticed and no safety measure neglected.
The country is starting to see its wear and tear. With the population only increasing by the day and travel reaching insurmountable heights, it’s imperative for companies to step up their game when it comes to building bridges. Literally! The Federal Highway Administration (shortened to the FHWA) has estimated that, in order to eliminate the nation’s bridge deficient backlog in the next ten years, we need to invest $20 billion every year. As of now? Only $12 billion is being spent.
Railway bridges aren’t the only part of the United States that’s needing the aid of excavation support methods. Roads see plenty of cracks, holes and bumps accrued over time, with highways receiving the brunt because of their levels of activity. As a result, access road construction is done on a constant basis. A recent survey conducted by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance saw the overwhelming majority of drivers (at eight out of 10) saying they much preferred it if construction were performed at night during off-hours.
What are the basics of excavation support methods? At the risk of sounding redundant, it means being ever aware of the unpredictable personality of Mother Nature. Minor to major issues can crop up out of the blue and it’s construction companies’ job to be prepared no matter what. This can mean staving off bad weather patterns or wearing the right equipment in light of harmful environmental hazards. This will be further detailed below to shed light on the necessary, and dangerous, aspects of shoring systems.
Shoring is classified into three classes based on what’s needed out of the project and where it’s being conducted. You have Raking or Inclined Shores, Flying or Horizontal Shores and Dead or Vertical Shores. Atmospheric hazards are an unfortunate reality of digging deep into the ground and need to be respected when moving through a given project. These include, but are not limited to, low oxygen levels or the presence of hazardous fumes at four feet deep or further.
Soil is an unpredictable element and is also classified into various levels depending on their strength, give and moisture. Type A soils have an unconfined compressive strength of 1.5 tons per square foot and are also known as clay, sandy clay and clay loam. Type B are cohesive soils with a compressive strength greater than 0.5tsf and are also known as angular gravel or silt loam. Last, but not least, Type C soils are more sandy and more unstable.
It seems like a lot to keep track of, but classification and preparation are the name of the game when it comes to construction. Excavation support methods are becoming more necessary than ever as bridges become structurally weak, roads require touch-ups and new stores are being built. One in nine of the nation’s bridges are thought to be deficient. When you consider that two hundred million trips are taken every day over these bridges, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.