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Development of Preliminary Load and Resistance Factor Design of Drilled Shafts in Iowa


Principal investigators:

Co-principal investigators:

Project status


Start date: 08/01/11
End date: 11/30/14


Report: Development of Preliminary Load and Resistance Factor Design of Drilled Shafts in Iowa (4.93 mb pdf) October 2014

Tech transfer summary: Development of Preliminary Load and Resistance Factor Design of Drilled Shafts in Iowa (279.29 kb pdf) Oct 2014



About the research


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) mandated utilizing the Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) approach for all new bridges initiated in the United States after October 1, 2007. To achieve part of this goal, a database for Drilled SHAft Foundation Testing (DSHAFT) was developed and reported on by Garder, Ng, Sritharan, and Roling in 2012. DSHAFT is aimed at assimilating high-quality drilled shaft test data from Iowa and the surrounding regions. DSHAFT is currently housed on a project website (http://srg.cce.iastate.edu/dshaft) and contains data for 41 drilled shaft tests.

The objective of this research was to utilize the DSHAFT database and develop a regional LRFD procedure for drilled shafts in Iowa with preliminary resistance factors using a probability-based reliability theory. This was done by examining current design and construction practices used by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) as well as recommendations given in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) LRFD Bridge Design Specifications and the FHWA drilled shaft guidelines.

Various analytical methods were used to estimate side resistance and end bearing of drilled shafts in clay, sand, intermediate geomaterial (IGM), and rock. Since most of the load test results obtained from O-cell do not pass the 1-in top displacement criterion used by the Iowa DOT and the 5% of shaft diameter for top displacement criterion recommended by AASHTO, three improved procedures are proposed to generate and extend equivalent top load-displacement curves that enable the quantification of measured resistances corresponding to the displacement criteria.

Using the estimated and measured resistances, regional resistance factors were calibrated following the AASHTO LRFD framework and adjusted to resolve any anomalies observed among the factors. To illustrate the potential and successful use of drilled shafts in Iowa, the design procedures of drilled shaft foundations were demonstrated and the advantages of drilled shafts over driven piles were addressed in two case studies.