About 80% of the Uline Conference Center is built in an existing pond with the footprint measuring 112 feet by 150 feet. In order to pour the concrete foundation, the water surrounding the construction needed to be displaced to provide an open and dry area.
One option to achieve this was through a cofferdam which creates a watertight enclosure using sheet piles. Sheet piles use interlocking steel sections to retain soil and create temporary or permanent barriers.
Sheet Piles Surrounding Conference Center
After the team completed the foundation, the excess steel needed to be cut so it would not show above the waterline. Prior to cutting down the cofferdam, the water level on both sides were equalized by pumping water into the dry side over a period of two days. Once equalized, three scuba divers from Lunda Construction exothermically cut the sheet piles by combining electric arc with oxygen. The process took nine days and the divers were using tools that reached 10,000° F! This technique of underwater cutting is a first for the Milwaukee office.