Foundation Characterization Program (FCP)

The characterization of bridge foundations is complex. Bridges can be supported by shallow or deep foundations of varying footing geometries and materials. Footings can be square, circular, or rectangular. Foundations can be pedestal masonry stone footings or massive cofferdam footings. Piles can be present with or without pile caps and may be battered or vertical. Piles can be made of concrete (round, square, cylinder, or octagonal), steel (H-piles or round pipe sections), or timber. Deep foundations can be precast concrete piles, drilled shafts, or auger-cast concrete piles. The top of footings or pile caps can be buried underneath riprap, backfill mud, or channel soils. Additionally, design or as-built drawings of foundations are sometimes not available and technologies for determining foundation condition are expensive and sometimes unreliable. The goal of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is to identify methods to quantify and clarify these unknowns. The Foundation Characterization Program (FCP) attempts to determine one or more of the following: Foundation type (shallow versus deep, or a combination).Elevation of the base of the foundation (e.g. pile tip elevation).Foundation geometry (width, length, and depth), which includes checking the accuracy of as-built plans.Material type (foundation materials, including concrete, masonry, stone, steel, or timber).Integrity (foundation condition, such as corroded steel, rotted wood, or cracked or defective concrete).Foundation load-bearing capacity.Pile distribution – Target avoidance for foundation rehabilitation or underpinning.Remaining service life of the foundation.Subsurface characterization and imaging of soil and rock.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Program Information: Surface Transportation Research, Infrastructure


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $18000000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
    McLean, VA  United States  22101
  • Project Managers:

    Jalinoos, Frank

  • Performing Organizations:

    City University of New York

    205 E 42nd Street
    New York, NY  United States  10017
  • Principal Investigators:

    Agrawal, Anil

  • Start Date: 20170722
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190215
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01577040
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: DTFH61-14-D-00010
  • Files: RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 25 2015 5:08PM