Pile Driving Crew at Work On The New Spaghetti Junction Interchange

Andrew Miokovic Carpenter
Andrew Miokovic Carpenter/Pile Driver

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I spent a little time with a Pile Driving Crew earlier this week as they drove 70 foot steel beams into the earth to build a foundation for another bridge pier. These guys have to get these huge beams upright and then drive them into the ground using a single cylinder diesel “hammer”. They must make sure that the piling in perfectly plumb so that it can transfer the weight of the bridge directly to the bedrock. It is heavy, dirty work and the crew has to pay close attention to every aspect of the process to make certain that the pilings are properly placed

Pile Driver Climbing the "Hammer"
Pile Driver Climbing the “Hammer”

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Once the piling is positioned and ready to be hammered into place one of the crew must climb the hammer frame and set the hammer, a single cylinder diesel engine for driving the pile. In the image above he is climbing into position to do that. The line coming down to his back is a safety line to prevent him falling to the ground in the case of losing his footing.

Pile Driving Crew Positioning the "Hammer"
Pile Driving Crew Positioning the “Hammer”

Click on any image to open an enlarged view and slideshow of the images in this post.

In the image above you can see the entire crew working to drive a second section of piling which will extend the length to almost 140 feet. Just above Andrew Miokovic’s shoulder there is a line where this second piling has been welded to a section that is already 65 feet into the ground. The man climbing the hammer is also the welder for the crew and has already welded the beam to the top of the one in the ground.

Pile Driving Crew Positioning the "Hammer" #2
Pile Driving Crew Positioning the “Hammer” #2

Click on any image to open an enlarged view and slideshow of the images in this post.

In the above image the hammer motor has been energized and as soon as the man climbing down the hammer frame is clear the motor will be started and the pile will start descending into the earth about 4 to 6 inches each time it fires.

Hammerhead and Slope Wall
Hammerhead and Slope Wall

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Once the work of the pile driving crew is completed other crews of Carpenters and Ironworkers will start building another bridge pier such as the “Hammerhead” in this photo. It would be impossible to install the structural steel that will carry the new roadway without the unseen work that the Pile Drivers do to ensure a solid foundation. As in so many major projects there is a lot of work done that we never see or consider when viewing the final product.

Structural Steel Heading East
Structural Steel Heading East

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This final image in the post shows the structural steel that will eventually carry traffic east out of Louisville onto Interstate 64. I chose this composition to use the leading lines of the shadows to carry the viewer’s eye down along the sloping terrain and into the background. The three engineers  happened to come into the scene as I was composing the image so I attempted to capture each man just as he stepped out of the shadow lines.

All of these images are HDR images created using a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. I merged them using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then took the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw where I adjusted the final Brightness, Fill Light, Recovery and Exposure. Once I was happy with the image I returned it to Photoshop CS5 where I performed a Levels Adjustment, Lens Correction where needed and applied Smart Sharpening. After that I added another layer where I tweaked the final details using NIK Viveza.

 

4 thoughts on “Pile Driving Crew at Work On The New Spaghetti Junction Interchange

  1. That is nothing but COOL! How to drive a 70 ft steel beam, plumb, into the earth, with rock down there to divert it off course…….Amazing! Great photos…..great story….love this Nick!

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