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Pile Encapsulation - Noden Causeway

The 5.6 kilometer long Noden Causeway which crosses Rainy Lake near Fort Frances Ontario, includes three in-water, concrete girder structures supported by 61 piers with a total of 1125 steel tube piles. 

This project which was carried out over a three year period involved the polymer encapsulation of the piles, which had suffered heavy pitting and steel section loss due to the effects of a severe form of microbiologically influenced corrosion. Dominion Divers worked with George Armstrong Co. Ltd., the general contractor from Fort Frances, to complete the work on time and in budget.

The repair design called for reinforcing the existing pile and incorporating both an epoxy adhesive and mechanical (shear stud) bond between the existing pile and the encapsulation. All the in-water pile work, totaling approximately 8,000 hours of bottom time was carried out by our divers. 

The repair of each pile consisted of the following steps:

  • Protecting the work area and the marine environment with turbidity barriers.

  • Manual scraping and removing the organic scale crust from the pile below water.

  • Water blasting the steel piles above and below water level, using a 40,000 psi pump and lances with rotating fan-tip nozzles.  

  • Installing threaded shear studs above and below water level. 

  • Installing a reinforcing cage around the pile and tack welding to secure in place.

  • Water blasting the entire encapsulation area prior to jacketing to ensure a good bond.

  •  Installing the translucent FRP jacket and closing with screws and gaskets

  • Pumping  the annular space with the epoxy grout


During the course of the project our team installed over 60,000 shear studs underwater using the Ramset Salvage Master high velocity powder actuated tool. This was the most product ever used on a construction project anywhere in the world, at times straining the production capacity at the manufacturing facility in Australia.

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