In 1966, the College of Architecture at Arizona State University challenged their students to design a use for the normally dry Rio Salado riverbed. Their plans included damming the Rio Salado to create a lake, an open green area for public recreation, and commercial development near Tempe, Arizona. Many years later, the 220 acre Rio Salado Town Lake Project is a reality.

The final design for the dams required two piers with steeply battered lower sides to support an inflatable rubber bladder. The bladder is adjustable to control the lake level and provide flood control. The 13'-4" tall piers at the upper dam were 6' x 18' and rectangular at the top, but 18' x 30' and octagonal at the base. The piers for the lower dam were slightly larger.

When Ogden Construction received the contract for building the two dams needed on this project, they asked Symons® by Dayton Superior to create a plan for forming the cofferdams, foundations and support piers at both dam sites. Loch Louman, Project Superintendent, had several requirements that he needed satisfied: the pier forming system needed to be strong to withstand the pressure of a massive pour, they also had to be ganged for fast cycling, the finish on the piers had to be architectural, he wanted detailed engineered shop drawings, and he needed assurance that the plans for the unusual pier sides and corners were complete. He explained that they wanted Technical Services to provide drawings for the rectangular sides of the piers including gangs, ties, walers, and lifting brackets for these elements, but they wanted to build the triangular corners on site and provide their own tying and bracing plans for them.

The team of Technical Service professionals was detrmined to devise a plan that satisfied all requirements and save the contractor money. It was immediately decided that they would create plans to form the pier sides with the Max‑A‑Form® forming system. The allsteel construction provided the strength, the productivity and the smooth finish that the contractor required.

A challenge in designing this project was in providing proper support for the Max‑A‑Form gangs. While the narrow end gangs could be supported by the corners, the side gangs needed a substantial amount of additional support. To solve this problem, diagonal strut brackets and Type III standard braces were added along the top of the heavy gangs to provide the necessary support.

When the scheme was presented to Loch Louman, he was impressed. He accepted the proposal, exclaiming, “That is how I want to build this project!”

When the forms arrived at the jobsite, Ogden Construction Company Project Engineer, Byron Breese, immediately appreciated the benefits of working with Symons professionals. He praised the quality of the forms, the detailed engineering support and expert onsite service he received. He stated, “Technical Services made sure that his project proceeded smoothly from Day One. We are proud of our quality finish, and I am looking forward to working with them again.”

Max-A-Form® Forming System

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