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Test Pile Installation and Noise Reduction Study
A pile is a circular steel column
that is driven into the river bottom to provide support for bridge
structures and temporary construction
work needs. Installation of piles can
create noise associated with metal striking metal.
In February 2011, the Columbia River Crossing project researched in-water
pile installation and noise reduction techniques. Objectives of the research
included evaluating construction noise at nearby residences and businesses, as
well as assessing techniques to reduce effects to fish and wildlife during
replacement of the I-5 bridge. The work occurred in the Columbia River just west
of the Interstate Bridge.
Many people live and work near the I-5 bridge and endangered
species use the Columbia River.
This study will help project
- Noise effects on land and underwater from pile installation in the Columbia
- Methods to minimize underwater noise that could affect fish and wildlife during
- Pile installation methods to ensure the construction phase of the replacement
I-5 bridge stays on schedule and on budget
Click on the above map to see full sized PDF.
Crews used a combination of vibratory and impact hammers
for test pile installation.
Above water results
The monitoring for noise and vibration provided valuable information about
what to expect during construction of a new I-5 bridge. The research shows that
installation of the test piles can be done primarily by a vibration method.
Impact hammering of piles is expected to last no more than a combined 45 minutes
per day over a 12 hour period during construction.
Results found that impact hammering of test piles into the river bottom could
be clearly heard above the surrounding ambient noise up to a distance of
approximately 2000 feet away from the pile driving location, however, noise levels
produced did not exceed the City of Portland noise ordinance.
Vibration was detectable by monitoring devices and may be felt by people
within 1000 to 2000 feet of pile driving. Based on the results, the level of
vibration should not cause any structural damage to nearby buildings or
structures, however, windows or loose items on shelves may rattle during impact
hammering during future construction.
The data collected as part of this installation project will help CRC prepare
for construction of a new I-5 bridge and will inform future public communication
efforts to nearby residents and businesses.
More detailed information about the above water results of the test pile
project can be found in the final report. An additional report about underwater
noise is forthcoming later this year.
- Six temporary test piles were installed in the Columbia River bottom near two proposed pier locations for the replacement I-5 bridge.
- Two methods were used for installation vibratory and impact. Load testing and monitoring also occurred.
- While installing the piles, underwater noise reducing “bubble curtains” were tested. Walls of air bubbles were created to surround the pile and absorb the noise that may be harmful to fish and wildlife species. Two types of bubble curtains were tested.
- Noise and vibration levels on land were monitored in downtown Vancouver and Hayden Island before the project began and while it was occurring to assess the effects of the installation in the nearby communities. About 10 noise monitors and five vibration monitors were used to measure effects of the test project.
CRC received a 2012 National
Environmental Excellence Award for its work to evaluate construction effects
to fish species as part of the test pile project.
How can I get more information?