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Overview of Tacoma Narrows Bridge Floating Caisson Design

[+] Author Affiliations
M. Sri Krishna, Partha Chakrabarti, Adinarayana Mukkamala, Nagaraj Anavekar

Zentech, Inc., Houston, TX

Subrata K. Chakrabarti

Offshore Structure Analysis, Inc., Plainfield, IL

Paper No. OMAE2004-51230, pp. 465-478; 14 pages
  • ASME 2004 23rd International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
  • 23rd International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, Volume 1, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 20–25, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3743-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3738-6
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Tacoma Narrows Constructors is building a new suspension bridge in Tacoma, close to Seattle, Washington State, USA next to an existing bridge at the location. The new bridge is being built just south of the existing bridge. This new bridge will be built on towers mounted on two caissons. The caissons are towed to the site from the harbor with the cutting edge, first full lift, and the second and third exterior lifts. The piers are constructed on site up to their full height as floating caissons at varying drafts. During the construction, the floating caissons on both ends of the new bridge are moored in place with 32 catenary mooring lines. The current flow due to ebb and flood tide in the narrows is very high. This high current and the consequent vortex-induced dynamic forces provided a technical challenge in the design of the caisson and its mooring system whose dimensions are of similar order of magnitude as typical offshore structures exposed to severe environment. This paper provides an overview of this challenge, and describes the steps taken in overcoming these difficulties. The design procedure adopted of the moored caisson system and the piers in the overall scheme of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are summarized. This overview stresses the practical side of towing, mooring and in place construction of the caissons. Some of the critical areas of associated design challenges and their solution techniques are highlighted.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME
Topics: Caissons , Design



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