Ayers Basement Systems Case Studies: Using Helical Piles in New Boardwalk Construction in Trenton, MI

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 by Amanda Waldmann


We often receive calls from customers who need to fix a problem already in progress. However, when preparing to install a new boardwalk in the Detroit Wildlife Refuge, the contractor recognized that traditional wooden support posts would not be sufficient in an unstable soil climate. They called on Ayers to provide a solution.


Commercial System Design Specialist Jacob Pleune determined that, given the proposed length of the boardwalk and the unstable soil, a series of 34 helical piles would provide the support needed for the boardwalk. He provided a fully engineered plan and all necessary submittals to suffice all federal documentation protocols before the project began.

Helical piles can be advanced to a soil depth necessary to achieve stability without being susceptible to soil shifting, thus providing security to the boardwalk without risk of sinking in the future. The piles were installed within a tight tolerance, allowing no more than 0.5 inches of lateral movement. 

We installed the helical piles in January with the hope that the ground would be firm enough to bear the weight of our equipment and allow for as much control as possible in installation. Despite our timing, the ground was still quite saturated; a new problem arose when large boulders were discovered below the surface of the soil, forcing us to adjust our plan.

The project was completed within the tight timeline required, and came in under budget. Using helical piles to support the new boardwalk will prevent potential shifting that could be a financial nightmare and major safety risk.

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Ayers Basement Systems
2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
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