Helical piles are becoming more and more popular for communications towers and transmission lines throughout Manitoba. Approximately one third of the Bi-Pole III project was supported on helical piles and their popularity for Manitoba Hydro projects is increasing.

Helical piles are an excellent solution for supporting a structure and also for anchoring a structure – they are commonly used as guy wires but also are found under structures. Other common advantages are the ease of mobilization, speed of installation in any season without heating or hoarding, ability to be removed, reused or recycled, and the correlation between torque and capacity that ensures performance.

Where helical piles are lacking when compared with large diameter concrete piles, is in lateral resistance.  However, pile groupings, installation of piles on opposing batters, pile caps or reaction frames are common remedies for achieving the lateral resistance and bending moments required for a communications tower.

When 14 RCMP detachments were looking to upgrade their communications towers the most daunting task involved was the demolition of the existing concrete pads.

VersaPile, Inc. – Helical Pile Contractors, working with their engineering network, value engineered a solution that made a ton of sense.

Using a custom reaction frame, we were able to span directly over the existing pads, effectively eliminating their demolition.

The reaction frame, acting like a giant snowshoe, greatly reduced the bending moment forces. This allowed us to use much smaller and more economical piles.

The use of much smaller piles further compounded the savings by making mobilization to 14 rural Manitoba detachments, exponentially more efficient.

When Valley Internet was looking to expand their network they found a great piece of land to build a 220 foot tower near Carman, Manitoba.  The catch is that, although the tower is quite tall, the land did not allow for the footprint required to support lateral loading with guy wires, therefore this needed to be a free standing tower with significant lateral loads and bending moments.  The solution was to engineer a reaction frame that would tie six helical pile, each 8-5/8″ in diameter and 30 feet deep, together.

Another great advantage to using helical piles to support the tower above, is that once the land lease expires and the tower needs to be dismantled, the helical piles can be completely uninstalled and the land remediated fully.

When Bell required guy wires for 180 foot tower an hour east of Kenora, Ontario helical piles were a great solution for ease of mobilization.  Helical piles for guy wire application can be much smaller than alternative piling solutions because they can be installed on a batter that greatly reduces the lateral and bending moments at play.

Pull tests were conducted to verify 25,000 lbs of resistance for each of the anchoring piles.

What challenges are facing your communications tower project? Give us a call at 204.793.0653 ext. 1, you might be surprised by the out of the box engineered solutions we might offer.