Concrete Underwater Placement – Literature and Synthesis

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) uses pier and abutment types that may be constructed in aquatic environments without cofferdams. Typically, just formwork and erosion control will be used during these construction operations of a number of our pier and abutment types. These types of substructures include the WisDOT Bridge Manual Pile Encased Pier (Standard 13.03), A1 Integral Abutment (Standard 12.01), and A5 Pile Encased Abutment (Standard 12.08). Construction of piers or abutments without cofferdams in aquatic environments can be challenging and at times and the quality of the products may be less than desirable. There may be issues in adequately excavating to the desired bottom of pier elevation and maintaining the excavation open so that adequate embedment into the streambed can be attained. During placement of concrete under water, there have been issues with segregation of the concrete and loss of the cement paste. As a result, quality and strength of the concrete can be greatly compromised to the point that week concrete that can be easily removed by probing with hand tools. This concrete quality issue may also pertain to challenges with placements of seals in cofferdam/pier construction. Factors during placement may include water velocities, depth of water, method of confinement, method of placement, or concrete mix design. These issues lead to concrete that is highly compromised with respect to strength and long-term performance. Some questions that also need to be addressed relate to the type of inspection that is desired to help ensure the appropriate level of quality. This may include the need or benefit for diving inspection after installation and/or other remote inspection technology. This research synthesis report aims at assessing WisDOT current policy, standards, and specifications, the policy and practices of other DOTs, and current industry practices (including other marine environment construction industries) to provide guidance to be used in improving WisDOT policy, standards, and specifications related to underwater concrete placement. The objective of this research is to examine best practices of DOTs and other related industries related to placement of concrete underwater and make recommendations to WisDOT Manuals, standards, specifications, and policy that will promote higher quality concrete substructures in aquatic environments.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $60000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation

    4802 Sheboygan Avenue
    Madison, WI  United States  53707
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    Milwaukee, WI  United States  53201
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sobolev, Konstantin

  • Start Date: 20171005
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181005
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01668932
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 0092-18-04
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 10 2017 12:46PM