Geology and Foundation Treatment of Sensitive Sediments—World's Fair Highway Complex, New York
Published:January 01, 1968
Charles A. Baskerville, 1968. "Geology and Foundation Treatment of Sensitive Sediments—World's Fair Highway Complex, New York", Engineering Geology Case Histories Number 6, George A. Kiersch
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The highways and 1964 World's Fair site are located in a tidal valley in the Flushing Meadows of Queens County, New York. Highway construction costs were about $120,000,000.
The Meadows contains the Flushing River, which connects Flushing Bay with Meadow and Willow Lakes to the south. These waters receive fresh water from surface runoff and salt water from the East River.
Deposition in the valley is believed by others to be due to submergence. Evidence encountered during highway construction suggests that it was formed by the breaching of an older terminal moraine and by subsequent rising sea level. The Meadows is close to sea level. The valley floor deposits are composed of plastic organic silt and clay overlain by peat. Peat layers cored in borings at the bottom of the organic silts overlie a clayey till. Radiocarbon methods indicate a bottom-peat age of 7000 to 9000 years before the present.
These sensitive organic sediments have average moisture contents (water weight/ dry weight) from 90 to 100 percent, plastic limit 40 percent, and specific gravity 2.62. This specific gravity is consistent with the granitic material from which the sediments were derived. This material has a low shear strength, which increases slightly with depth because of compaction.
Special foundation treatments to reduce postconstruction settlements included: relieving structures over drainage lines and light-weight fill embankments with counter-weight berms; and sand drains to increase consolidation rate with accompanying shear-strength increase.
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Engineering Geology Case Histories Number 6
This is the sixth volume in the Case History series of the Division on Engineering Geology of the Geological Society of America, initiated in 1957. Each succeeding volume has enjoyed increasing acceptance as an aid to the practicing geologist and engineer, student, and teacher, alike. This volume is a collection of general case histories on dams, tunnels, highways, and underground construction. Indeed, the Baldwin Hills reservoir failure is another in a long list of cases which demonstrate why the geologic environment, features, and circumstances are of major concern to engineering works.