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Direct Connection Bellmawr Months Long Pile-Driving Operations Start Friday

Direct Connection Bellmawr Months Long Pile-Driving Operations Start Friday
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NJDOT announced today that starting Friday August 18th, and continuing every day Monday through Friday for several months… construction crews will be conducting daytime pile-driving operations in Bellmawr, as part of the Direct Connection collapsed roadway rebuilt (“Wall 22”).

The entire pile-driving effort will push 651 piles deep into the earth to support the raised roadway, and is scheduled to take 3 1/2 months to complete.

The effort is being done only during the day because of potential for loud sounds from the pile drivers, and trying to minimize impacts on area residents.

Direct Connect Project Bellmawr will see the start of pile-driving activities for the “Wall 22” rebuild project. (8/17/2023)

The press release states that while there will be no impact on traffic, it warns that pile driving operations can create significant noise. It is expected that the existing sound barrier walls in place should help minimize the disruption to the community.

This effort is part of the $900+ millon dollar Direct Connection project centered in Bellmawr New Jersey. The goal of the project is to “straighten-out” Route 295 (which currently has a low speed, sharp curve heading South) as well as improve traffic flow on other adjoining highways.

Direct Connection Wall 22 Rebuild
Image from July 25th shows steel piles in place, prior to being fully driven into the earth.

Prior to the new roadway opening, in March of 2021 they key elevated portion of Route 295 collapsed. Investigators determined an improper foundation under the wall and roadway, pushed the earth underneath of it… out. This caused the wall to push out, and the roadway to sink.

Keep scrolling to learn more about this stage of rebuild, but also check out the 42Freeway Transportation Projects Primer for more details on the Direct Connection project.

The Browning Road rebuild, which is also part of the Direct Connection project. (8/17/2023)

Direct Connection Pile-Driving : Two Levels

The pile-driving operations in this effort are split into two segments.

An upper bench/platform will be constructed closer to the cemetery property which will support the new I-295 southbound roadway.

A second lower bench/platform will be constructed to support the new concrete wall.

Work is starting with the upper bench/platform, which is a total of 301 piles. That work is expected to take about six weeks.

Once that is complete the construction crews will shift to the lower bench/platform which is 350 piles.

The lower level work is expected to take another eight weeks.

The work is necessary to install piles that will support a concrete slab platform to support the aggregate base under the new roadway.

Combined, the two levels are projected to be a 3 1/2 month effort, without factoring in any unforeseen delays.

A pile-driver machine has been onsite for weeks in Bellmawr. Several spaced out piles have already been placed following the curvature of roadway/wall. (8/17/2023)

While we have been provided some bullets from NJDOT on what the final plan is for the collapsed roadway rebuild, it never really painted a clear picture.

This traffic advisory press release give us some additional details in saying that rigid concrete platforms are being developed as a base for the new wall and roadway.

From what we know about the original construction, the foundation base supporting the roadway and wall was based on a geosynthetic mat (supported by columns). The new plan appears to be a rigid concrete bench/platform.

Workers have placed temporary barriers on the earth, as they move forward with the Direct Connection Wall 22 rebuild. (8/17/2023)

Another change we can infer from this advisory is that the wall itself will be resting on its own platform, which in turn will be anchored by 350 piles deep into the earth.

This is also a different design than the original plan in that previous construction the wall mostly sat above the edge of a sharp earthen embankment. When the pressure from the roadway and rain increased the soil underneath the front wall was able to push out causing a front “blow-out”

it would appear that the goal of the wall rebuild will sit on a rigid concrete platform which is held by 350 piles driven deep underground, giving it the strength to hold up to any of those pressures.

42Freeway Transportation Projects Primer

March 28, 2021: Direct Connect 295/42 Bellmawr Wall/Roadway Sinking Analysis Video, Theory and… Hey NJDOT, Whats up?

June 3, 2022: Direct Connection Wall Collapse Report! (Article and Video)

Oct 31, 2022: Direct Connection Wall REBUILD Update. New Real Info