Continuing our nine-part Meet the Bridge Builders video series, this week’s episode is on the foundation of the Bridge Project that comprises more than 350 piles, rebar-enforced concrete columns sunk deep into the ground. In fact, some of those piles go as deep as 200 feet.
One of the early challenges during the construction of the new bridge was – when the foundation drilling team started creating holes for the piles – they found abandoned oil wells from the early wildcatting days in Long Beach. The Wilmington Oil Field, where the Bridge Project was built, is the third-largest oil field in the United States in terms of cumulative oil production. There were dozens of these wells that had to be environmentally mitigated and the well casings removed.
After dealing with the wells, the drilling team had to create the more than 350 piles without defects, because they represented the foundation of the future bridge. The team did a spectacular job. After using various testing methods to evaluate the integrity of the piles, only two easily fixable anomalies were found. This record of successful pile construction is tantamount to a major league baseball pitcher throwing 12 perfect games in a row, then following it up with a two-hitter.