Port Mann Bridge Piling

Why British Columbia Initiated the Port Mann Bridge Project

Name: Port Mann Bridge Piling
Category: Shop Fabrication

The Port Mann Bridge project was initiated by BC’s Ministry of Transportation as a solution to the growing congestion problem in the Vancouver area.

The original Port Mann Bridge had opened in 1964 — when the surrounding population numbered 850,000 people. By 2009, when construction on the new bridge began, the surrounding population had grown to 2.2 million. As you can imagine, this turned the old bridge into a major traffic choke-point.

Once completed, the new Port Mann Bridge successfully reduced traffic by 30% and at 10 lanes it stole the title of widest bridge in the world.


T BAILEY, INC. Was Uniquely Qualified to Fabricate These Steel Pilings

The extreme size of the Port Mann Bridge required equally massive foundation pipe pilings. Flatiron ordered 63 bridge pilings from T BAILEY, INC.. Each one was 240’ long and weighed 272,000 pounds — second in size only to the pilings used on the new San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Finding a steel fabricator who was able to deliver pile lengths of that size could have been a challenge if the bridge project was located in a different part of the country. Fortunately for Flatiron, T BAILEY, INC.’s fabrication facilities are just south of the Canadian border.

Two features that make T BAILEY, INC. uniquely qualified to handle large orders like this are our close proximity to the deep-water port in Anacortes and our ability to fabricate pilings in stages.

The Challenges We Overcame to Deliver 240’ Pilings on Schedule

The fabrication process for these pilings posed a couple of challenges:

  • The pile walls were 1 ½” thick. A difficult thickness for most fabrication companies to work with.
  • The pilings needed to be 240’ long — an impossible length to transport from a fabrication facility to a job site.

Both of these requirements would have been serious challenges for most fabrication companies — but not T BAILEY, INC.

As the Northwest’s leading fabrication company, our facilities are stocked with state-of-the-art cutting, rolling, and welding equipment. These in-house capabilities meant that rolling and welding the heavy-wall piling for the Port Mann Bridge was just a regular day at work for our fabricators.

How We Were Able to Move 240’ Pilings Down to the Waterfront

While rolling and welding were not a challenge for us, transporting the 240’ pilings from our shop down to the Port of Anacortes would have been an insurmountable feat. The way we solved this was by assembling the pilings in stages:

  1. We fabricated 120’ lengths at our shop.
  2. Then we called in a trusted heavy-haul contractor to help us move the lengths. They planned the route, loaded up their trucks, and drove the 120’ lengths through town and down to the Anacortes Port.
  3. Down by the port, we rented yard space and set up a mobile splice station.
  4. Our expert welding crew came down and used subarc and hand welding to splice the 120’ lengths together into their 240’ long final lengths.

This customized fabrication process enabled us to get 240’ pilings staged at the port’s edge. This saved Kiewit / Flatiron from having to order 120’ lengths and setting up a splice station over the water at the Port Mann Bridge job site.

How We Delivered the Pilings to Kiewit / Flatiron

Once the pilings were staged at the water’s edge, the next challenge was getting these onto Flatiron’s barge. Each pile weighed 136 tons (equaling over 17 million pounds of steel between all 63 pilings).

We used a 750-ton crane equipped with a 60’ reach to load the pilings onto Kiewit / –Flatiron’s special tipping barge.

The barge could hold 14 piles per shipment and made the trip back and forth to the job site every 14 days. This ensured that piles were delivered in order of demand at the project site.

Once the barge reached the bridge site each pile was tipped up and vibrated into the ground by ‘The General’ (the largest barge crane in the West Coast).

An Expert Piling Fabricator Near You

T BAILEY, INC. is your one-stop-shop for steel piling. As demonstrated in this case study, we can fabricate and deliver piling of any length and thickness. When you order from us, you receive a completed product that is ready to be used — no fitting up or welding required.

To learn more about how we can help you save time and money on your next piling project, contact T BAILEY, INC. today.

What are you building?

We’re designed to perform custom fabrication of heavy structural and plate products, and can directly ship oversized loads via barge, rail, or truck to your location.

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