DFI Journal - The Journal of the Deep Foundations Institute

Volume 13, Issue 2, January 2019
DOI: 10.37308/DFIJnl.20181128.195

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Ground Improvement Design and Construction for Seattle’s Elliott Bay Seawall Replacement and Retrofit
Article Type: Case Study

Perkins, W. & Malinak, A.


The Elliott Bay Seawall in Seattle, Washington, was constructed in the early 1900s over soft/loose non-engineered and liquefaction susceptible fill, estuary, and beach deposits. The fill includes wood from historic waterfront sawmills and debris from the 1889 Great Seattle Fire. After the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, an evaluation of the seawall condition and seismic vulnerability determined that it had undergone significant deterioration and was susceptible to collapse for a 100-year earthquake. This evaluation led to design and replacement/retrofit of 1,130 meters (3,700 feet) of seawall. The new seawall includes an improved soil mass constructed of a cellular arrangement of jet-grout columns that supports a seawall superstructure and provides all seismic lateral restraint. The improved soil mass seismic performance criteria are based on allowable seawall displacement for three earthquake ground motion levels. Final improved soil mass design utilized non-linear dynamic soil-structure interaction analyses. To meet performance criteria, improved soil mass widths range between 7.9 and 18.3 meters (26 and 60 feet), ground improvement area replacement ranges between 50 and 64 percent, and jet-grout soil-cement unconfined compressive strength ranges between 0.86 and 2.76 MPa (125 and 400 psi), depending on the soil type. Improved soil mass construction issues included equipment selection, limited space, spoils handling, wood debris, and obstructions (e.g., buried utilities, piles, and temporary shoring). Lessons learned included: (1) jet grouting was the best construction method given the utilities and thousands of piles beneath the site, (2) early obstructions identification and contingency plans are critical to maintain production, and (3) an understanding of space requirements for all construction activities is required for safe and productive working conditions.

ground improvement, jet grouting