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Case Studies El Dorado Beach Improvement Project

Project Description: $4.8 Million LEED Project includes site rehabilitation and improvements of the existing city park along the south shore of Lake Tahoe. Project requirements include high standards for materials and building systems to promote sustainable building practices. The project is expected to become a showcase of collaboration, innovation and sustainable building practices that will significantly improve erosion control and lake clarity. Project features include construction of a new 2,000 sf restroom and concession facility, landscaping, retaining walls, terraces, pedestrian walkways and bike paths as well as improved beach access to provide a world-class open space and civic gathering place.

Project History: An internationally known team of landscape architects and planners worked with the local community for nearly two years to develop a conceptual plan for the site. The plan emphasizes green building design, energy and water conservation, public transit, water quality improvements to protect Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity. The project is a cooperative effort among the City of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County and the California Tahoe Conservancy.

How Was Ram Jack Involved? Through a public competitive bidding process, Ram Jack of Nevada, Inc. was awarded a subcontract to furnish and install Helical Foundation Piles and Retaining Wall Anchors. The large concrete retaining wall (commonly referred to as the “Helical Wall”), was constructed to provide a public access way from the beach level up to street level. The project designers needed a way to support the large wall foundation and tie the wall back due to the substantial loading criteria the wall needed to withstand. Also, since green and sustainable building practices were a focus for this project, the design team specified Helical Piles and Anchors be used in lieu of other deep foundation methods and techniques. The Helical Piles and Anchors were installed only a few feet from the Lake’s edge. Design Loads ranged from 26 kips up to 102 kips per pile and anchor. While the Design Loads were provided by the Project Structural Engineer, design of the helical piles and anchors was required to be performed by Ram Jack. Ram Jack’s Engineering Department designed a combination of pile-anchor diameters (3-1/2” – 5-1/2”) and helix configurations to handle the design loads plus a minimum Factor of Safety of 2. All pile-anchor types were tested to 2 times the design load. Vertical Foundation Piles were Compression Tested in accordance with ASTM D1143. The battered foundation and wall anchors were Tension Tested in accordance with ASTM D3689. The project specifications required a Pre-Production Test Program as well as a Production Test Program to verify capacities achieved during the Pre-Production Test Program using Torque-Correlation. The physical testing programs confirmed the Torque-Correlation Method for determining pile-anchor capacities for the balance of the piles and anchors installed. Ram Jack of Nevada Inc. used a track-mounted hydraulic excavator using ProDig two-stage 12K and single-stage 30K Torque Drive Heads along with material handling and other support equipment and tooling.
Total No. of Helical Piles and Anchors installed: 36.

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