A case history and design review of the Kuparuk River Module Crossing and its refrigerated foundation are presented. The Kuparuk Crossing incorporated a number of design and construction innovations to meet the challenges of bridging a major Alaskan North Slope river. Among these challenges was the need for a foundation system--to be placed in a continuous permafrost bed--which could support a 2,500-ton (2.26 × 103 Mg) live load on the bridge deck. A temporary mechanical refrigeration system was provided to refreeze subgrade soil disturbed during construction of this foundation. After the removal of the temporary mechanical refrigeration, a passive thermosyphon system was employed as part of the foundation design to maintain the long-term integrity of the frozen soils. A special procedure was used to install and monitor the passive systems in the foundation piles.

The predictions of the thermodynamic design model are compared to five years of post-construction field measurements. General trends of both future performance and foundation stability are discussed and compared to design assumptions. The performance of ground temperature monitoring equipment is also reviewed.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.