The Kansas City District recently completed the Fairfax Jersey Creek sheet pile wall project located near Kaw Point along the Missouri River near Kansas City.
The sheet pile wall was deteriorating and the original feasibility study concluded that the wall needed to be replaced, yet after a thorough analysis it was determined that replacing the wall would be entirely too expensive. The Corps decided to shorten the wall, regrade the slope and add rip rap to protect the bank.
Construction on the $4 million project began in late fall of 2014 and was cost shared 65 percent federal and 35 percent from the sponsor or the Kaw Valley Drainage District.
In the 1930s the city of Kansas City, Kan. developed a wharf at the wall location and docked shipping vessels where they would load grain. Through the years, the constant use of the dock for shipping contributed to the degradation of the wall.
Over time, there was noticeable movement of the wall, some of the ties that went back into the bank to anchor as part of the sheet pile had rusted and corroded at the waterline and were in the early stages of failure. If the sheet pile wall failed then the embankment would shift and slide into the river which would eventually cause the floodwall to become unstable and could shift and fail causing a chain reaction.
Another contributing factor to the wall’s instability was stimulated by river bed degradation causing the riverbed to drop approximately ten feet in front of the sheet pile wall.
The primary concern was that a failure of the wall could lead to levy failure which would jeopardize businesses behind the levied area.
“We were meeting together and discussing the project, it was a cooperative effort between the Corps and the Levy District,” said Joe Roth, Kaw Valley levy district engineer. “The Fairfax levee protects a thriving industrial area which is vital to the whole metropolitan area because of the jobs and products that are produced there.”
A General Motors plant was built in 1985 that cost around $1 billion dollars and over time has doubled its initial footprint, Owens Corning, Certainteed and other smaller industry are also protected by the system.
“This has been a successful project where the sponsor, the Corps and the contractor have partnered well to produce a successful end product that will benefit businesses located behind the system,” said Anthony Hall, project manager.
Roth added that the construction project has gone very smoothly and is extremely satisfied with the end product.