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Steel Pile Cap/Concrete Pile Cap Bridge Support Systems

Project #: 4W2780
Start Date: 08/01/2009
End Date: 07/31/2012
Status: Completed

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has found steel pipe piles connected at the top by a concrete pile cap to be a very cost-effective support system for short and medium span bridges. This type of system offers low initial cost, short construction time, low maintenance requirements and a long service life. From a structural engineering perspective, these systems must provide acceptable performance under gravity (self-weight and vehicle loads) and lateral loads (e.g. extreme ice, wind, and seismic events). In 2005, MDT sponsored a research project at MSU to conduct physical testing on models of the pipe pile to steel pile cap connection. The tests investigated the performance of the connection under extreme lateral loads. As a result of the initial tests, MDT developed a new design procedure to determine the reinforcing steel required in the pile cap to produce the desired system performance under extreme lateral loads. The design procedure includes some changes and refinements that were not tested in the original research. This project provides an opportunity to validate the performance of steel pipe pile to concrete pile cap designed according to the specific procedure adopted by MDT.


The objective of this project is to conduct physical testing of MDT’s new steel pipe pile to concrete pile cap connection design method.