New Terminal Test Pile Work Ongoing

As travelers approach Kansas City International Airport by land or by air, they’ll notice some new additions to the terminal landscape: two cranes, each towering 80 feet over KCI’s B and C Terminals. The cranes are in place to begin the installation of Auger Pressure Grouted (APG) test piles, the first step in what will form the foundation of the KCI New Terminal.

APG test piles are constructed by advancing a hollow-stem auger, or large drilling device, into the ground to remove soil. As the soil is removed, high strength flowable cement based grout is pumped into place to create an underground pillar that reaches depths of as great as 80 feet below grade. With the grout column in place, rebar reinforcement cages and center bars are installed to provide additional support.

Zip tied to the center bar are hundreds of feet of wires and sensors that will conduct a series of compression and lateral tests while in place in the core of the pile. While compression tests determine the amount of weight each pile can support, the lateral tests will conclude how much the pile moves sideways when applying intense pressure using solid steel plates and hydraulic jacks.

The results of these tests will help builder Clark|Weitz|Clarkson better understand soil conditions on the jobsite and determine several final foundational elements, including the depth, diameter and final number of piles required to support the New Terminal structure. The test piles will not be used in the foundation of the building and will be abandoned in place following testing and eventually covered by the New Terminal.

Over 2,000 APG piles will be put in place to form the Terminal’s foundation system, with even more footings planned for the parking garage and new roadwork. Permanent foundation work will begin as early as this Fall and will be completed in Spring 2020. Deep foundation work on the New Terminal Project is being performed by Kansas City-based firm Berkel, one of the largest deep foundations contractors in the United States. Berkel’s portfolio includes entertainment venues, hotel resorts, casinos, power plants, and even the Pentagon.