The Federal Highway Administration indicates that about 85,000 bridges in the United States have no original contract documents with information about the type, depth, geometry and material of their foundations (FHWA, 2010). Furthermore, the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) provides information about 86,133 bridges nationwide that are rated as scour critical because of unknown foundation condition. In New Mexico, there are more than 281 bridges with unknown foundations, which are owned by the New Mexico Department of Transportation; 71 of these are timber bridges. These data indicate a serious problem that needs decisive action to assess the unknown bridge foundation characteristics (types and depths of foundation) in order to evaluate the scour safety risk of timber bridges in New Mexico.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of using the Sonic Echo (SE) method to determine unknown bridge foundation depths. The SE method was observed to be suitable for determining unknown pile depths for bridges that are supported by timber pile abutments or timber pile bents. The SE test method provides reliable and reasonable results for determining all tested piles with an accuracy of ±15 percent. The SE tests were conducted on seventeen timber piles in different locations in New Mexico. The success rate of using the Sonic Echo method to determine the depth of unknown bridge piles is 94%. The range of the depths of tested timber piles was 16 feet to 38 feet.
Sonic Echo Test Conducted on Timber Piles, Sound Wave Calculation within Timber Pile, Effectiveness of Sonic Echo Test on Timber Pile.
New Mexico Department of Transportation
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Dr. Arup K. Maji
Second Committee Member
Dr. Mahmoud Reda Taha
Third Committee Member
Dr. Rafiqul A. Tarefder
Jwary, Ali F.. "PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN DETERMINING TIMBER PILE DEPTH USING THE SONIC ECHO METHOD." (2017). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ce_etds/165