Title:
Method and apparatus providing internal structural reinforcements for canal and levee walls
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A levee, canal or aqueduct wall is internally supported by tensional members such as cables which stretch across the width of the waterway. In embodiments the tensional members may leave a space between the topmost member and the water level, so as to allow for passage of sea vessels above the cables. Vertical or horizontal struts or individual anchors attached to the ends of the cables may be positioned within, partially within or outside of the walls. Due to the strength of the device, the waterway wall may even be constructed at an angle to the vertical, even leaning outwards. External guying tensional members may be anchored and may connect to the wall or the internal tensional members to provide tensional support to prevent motion in the inward direction, either temporarily (such as during construction) or permanently.



Inventors:
Beidle, Thomas Raymond (Reno, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/881698
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/22/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIORELLO, BENJAMIN F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas Raymond Beidle (Reno, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A waterway comprising: first and second parallel facing sidewalls having a first thickness, two proximally open sides and a bottom, defining therebetween an extended longitudinal water course through which water may flow for a first distance; at least one tensional member firmly secured to and bearing load in tension from both sidewalls.

2. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: two ends of the tensional member; and at least one anchor firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall.

3. The waterway of claim 1, wherein the tensional member further comprises: a cable.

4. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: a second tensional member firmly secured to and bearing load in tension from both sidewalls at a second distance from the first tensional member.

5. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: a vertical navigation clearance distance, the vertical navigation clearance distance greater than the second distance.

6. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: two ends of the perpendicular tensional member; and at least one horizontal anchor strut firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall.

7. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: two ends of the perpendicular tensional member; and at least one vertical anchor strut firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall.

8. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: at least one guying tensional member external to the water course, the at least one guying tensional member having a first end secured to the first wall.

9. The waterway of claim 8, further comprising: a second end of the at least one guying tensional member, the second end secured to an anchor located separate from the first wall.

10. The waterway of claim 1, further comprising: two ends of the tensional member; and at least one anchor firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall, the anchor having a U-shaped body, the U-shaped body having an internal diameter, the internal diameter substantially equal to the first thickness.

11. The waterway of claim 4, wherein the second distance between the first and second tensional members further comprises: an intermediate navigation clearance distance.

Description:

This invention relates generally to canal and levee devices, and specifically to structural reinforcement of canal and levee devices.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH

This invention was not made under contract with an agency of the US Government, nor by any agency of the US Government.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The strength and durability of canals and levees in the US has never been more important than at the present time, as the continual physical development of the nation brings ever larger numbers of individuals and ever more expensive physical investments into areas prone to damage should a levee or canal break.

Obviously, the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of the levees protecting New Orleans and other parts of Southern Louisiana from flooding of the waters of Lake Pontchartrain is the first example of this which comes to mind: at least 1836 people lost their lives. It has been estimated that if the federal government undertook the task of rebuilding New Orleans, it would cost between 80 and 100 billion US dollars.

But the problem is potentially much more widespread than that. There are so many aqueducts, ditches, canals and levees in the United States that numbering them may be impossible.

The single largest and most expensive aqueduct system built in the US, the Central Arizona Project, has a backbone which covers 336 miles (˜540 km) from Lake Havasu to the Tucson area, with vast amounts of concrete and berming used to try and provide long term stability to the walls of the aqueduct.

Numerous other smaller US canals and aqueducts exist, for example, the California Aqueduct is 444 miles (˜700 km) long. One (partial) list of US irrigation aqueducts includes the All-American Canal, Coachella Canal, the Colorado River Aqueduct, the Contra Costa Canal, the Hillsboro Canal, the Los Angeles Aqueduct and storm drainage system often seen in movies, the Miami Canal, the famous St. Lucie Canal crossing Florida, the Tamiami Canal, the El Paso Canal, the Franklin Canal, the American Canal, the largely abandoned Erie Canal, and the Riverside Canal, however, many more irrigation canals exist, and a large number of transportation canals also exist as well. Most of these are “dug in” and thus not in immediate danger of collapse, but nonetheless large numbers of levees and canals have miles of unsupported “levee” style sides. The Army Corps of Engineers inspects over 2,000 levees nationwide, some of them miles long. The total number of levees in the US may be unknown, but the Corps estimates that up to 146 of these levees may present flood risks in danger of failure. In the end, many of these levees and many more will need to be made stronger.

Thus even if irrigation ditches and the like (functionally smaller canals and smaller levees) are not counted, the problem of levee strength is a gigantic one.

It would be preferable to provide some method of increasing the strength of levee walls at low cost, without berming or other large scale engineering projects.

Various systems exist of internal bracing.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,596,491 to Dietzler on Jun. 24th, 1986 teaches small bore plastic pipes having internal reinforcement, and since it involves small pipes, it cannot be considered relevant to levees large enough to hold supertanker ships. The internal reinforcement is primarily designed to withstand external forces rather than hydrostatic or hydrodynamic forces.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,202,305 to Bracque et al on Mar. 20th, 2001 teaches a large air distillation column with external bracing around a cylindrical central fluid unit, which suffers from a great structural variance from both prior art levees and also from the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,315,099 issued to Gerardot et al on Feb. 9th, 1982 teaches yet another pipe or cable type device, again not relevant to ocean or river levees.

Finally WO 2004/056677 to Ki-jun Kim and published Jul. 8th, 2004, teaches a portable cubical holding tank with internal supports which run in diagonal directions between small square plates of the skin of the tank. It does not teach a design allowing waterborne traffic, does not teach perpendicular internal supports and relates to water storage, not to waterways or shorelines.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

General Summary

The present invention teaches that a levee, canal or aqueduct wall may be internally supported by tensional members such as cables, bars, chains, carbon composites and the like which stretch across the width of the waterway. By this means, outward hydrostatic and/or hydrodynamic force of water onto the wall of the waterway or shoreline levee is matched by a tensional force anchored on the opposite wall.

In embodiments the tensional members may leave a space between the topmost member and the water level, so as to allow for passage of water vessels above the cables, in waterways, lakes or oceans in which traffic occurs.

Vertical or horizontal struts or individual anchors attached to the ends of the cables may be positioned within, partially within or outside of the walls. Struts may extend so as to provide anchoring to several tensional members, and in addition act to spread the tensional forces of the member onto a larger area of the wall.

Due to the strength of the device, the waterway wall/shoreline levee may even be constructed at an angle to the vertical, even leaning outwards, advantageous in that it allows a wider waterway for traffic but may be narrower at the bottom as necessary for local conditions.

External guying tensional members may be anchored and may connect to the wall or the internal tensional members to provide tensional support to prevent motion in the inward direction, especially collapse, either temporarily (such as during construction) or permanently. These anchoring guying tensional members would also provide stability in situations where hydrostatic and/or hydrodynamic pressure may be greater on one of the 2 walls or the waterway, such as a curve or change in course of the waterway.

Unlike tensional members for placid water storage devices, such as water tanks, the tensional members of the waterways of the invention must be anchored, strong enough, and dimensioned and configured to resist the side pressure of moving water.

Summary in Reference to Claims

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention, in addition to those discussed previously, to provide a waterway comprising:

first and second parallel facing sidewalls having a first thickness, two proximally open sides and a bottom, thereby defining therebetween an extended longitudinal water course through which water may flow for a first distance;

at least one tensional member firmly secured to and bearing load in tension from both sidewalls.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

two ends of the tensional member; and

at least one anchor firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, wherein the tensional member further comprises:

a cable.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

a second tensional member firmly secured to and bearing load in tension from both sidewalls at a second distance from the first tensional member.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

    • a vertical navigation clearance distance, the vertical navigation clearance distance greater than the second distance.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

two ends of the perpendicular tensional member; and

at least one horizontal anchor strut firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

two ends of the perpendicular tensional member; and

at least one vertical anchor strut firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

at least one guying tensional member external to the water course, the at least one guying tensional member having a first end secured to the first wall.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

a second end of the at least one guying tensional member, the second end secured to an anchor located separate from the first wall.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway, further comprising:

two ends of the tensional member; and

at least one anchor firmly securing at least one end of the tensional member to at least one sidewall, the anchor having a U-shaped body, the U-shaped body having an internal diameter, the internal diameter substantially equal to the first thickness.

It is therefore another aspect, advantage, objective and embodiment of the invention to provide a waterway wherein the second distance between the first and second tensional members further comprises:

an intermediate navigation clearance distance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a first embodiment of the device showing a simple embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional diagram of a second embodiment of the device, having a space allowing navigation above the tensional members.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional diagram of a third embodiment of the device, showing vertical outside struts.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional diagram of a fourth embodiment of the device showing horizontal longitudinal outside struts.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional diagram of a fifth embodiment of the invention showing that it makes it more practical to make levees or canals with sides sloping outward but without earthen or other support.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional diagram of a sixth embodiment of the invention showing that external guying tensional members may be used.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional diagram of a seventh embodiment of the invention showing that tensioning members and walls of the levees may extend into and under the ground beneath the waterway.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional diagram of an eighth embodiment of the invention showing that elevated guying tensional members may be used.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional diagram of a ninth embodiment of the invention showing that a sleeved retrofit may be used within the scope of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a top planform view of a section of waterway seen from above, showing alternative arrangements of the tensional members.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional diagram of an tenth embodiment of the invention showing that only elevated guying tensional members may be used.

INDEX TO REFERENCE NUMERALS
Levee/canal100
First side wall102
Second side wall104
Open bottom106
Foundation/berm108
Tensional members110a-i
Tensional tightening mechanism111a, 111b
Bottom206
Tensional members210a-d
Vertical navigation clearance212
First side wall302
Second side wall304
Open bottom306
Foundation/berm308
Tensional member310a
Vertical strut312
Tensional members410a-d
Horizontal longitudinal struts416a-d
First eccentric side wall502
Second eccentric side wall504
Differing tensional members510a-d
Side wall604
Tensional members610a-d
Guying tensional members618a-d
Anchor620
First sidewall702
Second sidewall704
Berm708
First tensional member710a
First sidewall802
Tensional member 810d
Sidewall902
Tensional member 910d
Sleeve922
Opening/attachment924
Sidewall1004 
First tensional member1010d
Second tensional member1026 
Third tensional member1028 
Anchor1030 
First sidewall1102 
Tensional member1110d

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a first embodiment of the device showing a simple embodiment. Levee/canal 100 may be a small “ditch” (irrigation canal mere inches or feet in width) or it may be wide enough to allow supertanker ships. In any case, it may extend for a first distance which may be as much as many miles in length or it may be merely blocks in length, as some of the levees are in the city of New Orleans.

First side wall 102 and second side wall 104 act to contain water within the confines of the waterway. The side walls 102, 104 may be constructed of reinforced concrete, concrete, metal, masonry, carbon composites, wood, and combinations thereof and have a first thickness suitable to containing such water given the additional reinforcement provided by the invention. In particular, in original equipment installations, the thickness of the walls may be less than the thickness of a side wall required to withstand the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic forces of the waterway unaided. The side walls 102, 104 may have foundations, or may have small earthen berms 108 as foundations as shown, or may sit atop substantial berms for additional height, or may realistically extend into the ground for a certain depth, so as to act as their own foundations.

Open bottom 106 may exist in certain embodiments such as irrigation channels or the like.

Side walls 102, 104 and bottom 106 define therebetween the extended/elongated water course of the waterway, through which water may flow from end to end of the waterway for the distance of the waterway, as two locally or proximally open “sides” of the waterway allow the waterway to be a waterway for moving water or vehicular traffic rather than a storage tank having four enclosed sides. That is, the device of the invention has two side walls and two openings (the entire length of the waterway) which allow water flow therethrough. The total length of the waterway may have one or two “ends” at some distant location, but is nonetheless locally open on two sides at any point other than the end or ends and thus the proximal sides are “open” for the entire intermediate length of the waterway so as to allow motion of water or ships through the waterway.

Foundation/berm 108 may be constructed of rammed earth or the like, or may be constructed of concrete or the like.

Tensional members 110a-i may be present in such numbers are as necessary to support the expected maximum load of water. In embodiments, at least one perpendicular tensional member is used, secured to each facing sidewall and extending across the width of the waterway between the sidewalls under tension, so as to provide tensional support to each wall and in effect, to “balance” the forces generated by water on one wall with the forces generated by water on the other wall. A first distance may separate two of the tensional members, which distance may be vertical or horizontal or a combination of both, and which distance may be different for different pairs of the members.

Preferably the tensional members should be perpendicular to the length of the parallel side walls, as non-perpendicular tensional members will exert undesirable forces along the length of the side walls. However, in alternative embodiments other orientations may be used.

Unlike tensional members for water storage devices with little or no water motion, the tensional members of the waterways of the invention must undergo lateral forces due to moving water (hydrodynamic forces) and thus are structurally more sturdy than tensional members for static water structures: this difference is termed “strong enough to resist lateral hydrodynamic forces” for purposes of this invention. The tensional member of the invention must also have stronger anchoring, and must dimensioned and configured to resist the side pressure of moving water. For example, the tensional members may have struts or anchors as discussed in regard to FIG. 3 and other figures, and must be anchored into the strong, normally reinforced concrete walls of the waterway. The tensional members may also have hydrofoil cross shapes to aid in minimizing forces due to water flow or water motions (such as from passing vessels). Tensional tightening mechanisms 111a, 111b may be provided to maintain the tensional members under tension at all times or to tighten them as necessary periodically. It will be appreciated that unlike static water holding tanks, random variations in moving water of waterways will cause random variations in tension, which may be undesirable, and thus tightening mechanisms may be necessary.

It may be seen that the device and apparatus of the invention may easily be retrofitted to an existing waterway wall or incorporated as original equipment in a newly constructed/reconstructed wall. In particular, the use of struts/anchors external to the wall is suited to retrofit applications.

The device of the invention even allows creation of portable temporary waterways, since the waterway of the invention can be constructed with no berming nor concrete of any type, merely with large strong plates or panels joined at water-tight edges so as to make walls, with cables to support the walls.

While the top of waterway is shown to be open, the waterway may of course be enclosed in alternative embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional diagram of a second embodiment of the device, having a space allowing navigation above the tensional members.

Bottom 206 may be a solid construction, much like the side walls. For example, the bottom 206 may be reinforced concrete or other materials used in the construction of the side wall, including portable panels.

Tensional members 210a-d may be seen to be disposed with a fairly large vertical navigation clearance 212 between them and the maximum water level in the waterway. In the diagram, the tensional members 210a-d may be seen to be disposed closer to bottom 206 than to the top of the waterway side walls and/or the maximum water level (which may be either below the top of the waterway side walls or coterminous therewith).

FIG. 3 shows water traffic using such a waterway, as long as the depth of water above the topmost tensional member exceeds the draft of the vessels using the waterway.

FIG. 3 is also a cross-sectional diagram of a third embodiment of the device, showing vertical outside struts. First side wall 302 and second side wall 304 bear on them anchors which aid in securing the tensional members such as tensional member 310a to the side walls 302, 304. The wall anchors also aid in transferring the load from a larger area of the wall to the tensional members, thus providing load distribution and allowing for thinner and thus more portable walls.

Vertical strut 312 may be seen to be one such anchor, which in this variant embodiment extends vertically up the sides of the waterway walls. Such anchors may be disposed on the outside faces of the walls, or may be partially within the wall structure, or may even be entirely within the wall structure. Each strut 312 may meet more than one tensional member in a vertical direction.

Open bottom 306 and foundation/berm 308 are as previously discussed in relation to FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional diagram of a fourth embodiment of the device showing horizontal longitudinal outside struts, the preferred embodiment and best mode contemplated for the invention.

Tensional members 410a-d meet a plurality of horizontal longitudinal struts 416a-d, which may extend along the length of the waterway (or at least a portion of the waterway length) or may be individual cable end anchors anchoring only one tensional member end. If the longitudinal struts are employed, then each strut may secure a number, even a large number, of cables disposed in a horizontal line.

Note that in alternative embodiments, struts may extend in a diagonal direction and meet and secure several cable ends.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional diagram of a fifth embodiment of the invention showing that the invention makes it more practical to make levees or canals with sides sloping outward but without earthen or other support. First eccentric side wall 502 and second eccentric side wall 504 may extend in directions not necessarily vertical, nor even mirror images of each other, if properly supported by differing tensional members 510a-d, which may be seen to have differing lengths. Normally extensive berming is required to make an aqueduct or canal or levee wall safe in a non-vertical orientation, however, the present invention allows quick construction of a waterway even with sloping side walls 502 and/or 504. Advantages of such slopes include the ability to allow the waterway to avoid ground level obstacles, allow creation of a smaller bottom and/or smaller “footprint”, and yet allow a wider waterway for increased water flow or wider waterborne traffic.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional diagram of a sixth embodiment of the invention showing that external guying tensional members may be used. Side wall 604 has internal tensional members 610a-d and also has another set of secure attachments to guying tensional members 618a-d which are located external to the waterway. The secure attachments of the internal and external tensional members may be at the same place, functionally connecting the two sets of members, or the attachments may be at different places, or there may be single set of tensional members which extend through the side walls and are thus both external and internal to the waterway, and are also both external and internal to the side wall 604.

Anchor 620 may be of normal type for suspension cable anchoring, devices of the type are used in suspension bridge construction and similar applications.

The width, size, length and material of the members may be different between external and internal or between members located at different locations, as seen in comparing the lower and upper external tensional members 618a and 618d of FIG. 6.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional diagram of a seventh embodiment of the invention showing that tensioning members and walls of the levees may extend into and under the ground beneath the waterway. First sidewall 702 and second sidewall 704 may be seen to extend their feet or foundations down into or even through and below berm 708. First tensional member 710a may be seen to be partially or wholly underground in such variations.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional diagram of an eighth embodiment of the invention showing that elevated guying tensional members may be used. An intermediate navigation clearance distance is thus created allowing vehicular traffic to pass below some sets of cables, and also decreasing the water flow drag on the cables by reducing the number of cables underwater.

First sidewall 802 may be seen to be tall enough to allow tensional member 810d to extend therefrom yet still be above the level of waterborne traffic. Posts, pillars and extensions of the sidewall and the like may be used to elevate the tensional members in variations of this.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional diagram of a ninth embodiment of the invention showing that a sleeved retrofit may be used within the scope of the invention.

Sidewall 902 may be an older sidewall not originally intended for use with the invention. Thus it may have a thickness greater than a sidewall originally designed for the invention, but may still be employed with the invention. Examples of the need for this include cases in which reassessment of the local environmental conditions indicate greater strength is called for, or in which the wall is degrading with age, found to be substandard and so on.

Tensional member 910d may be attached to permanent anchors within or without the walls as previously shown, however, in this embodiment tensional member 910d is affixed to an anchor in the form of elongated U-shaped sleeve 922 having an open bottom which may be easily affixed over the top of the older wall. Opening/attachment 924 may have an internal diameter substantially equal to the thickness of the wall, that is, equal to or slightly greater than the thickness of the wall. An attachment on opening 924 may assist in securing sleeve 922 to wall 902 as well.

FIG. 10 is a top planform view of a section of waterway seen from above, showing alternative arrangements of the tensional members. Sidewall 1004 may have first perpendicular tensional member 1010d but may instead or additionally have second tensional member 1026 set at a first angle to the perpendicular and third tensional member 1028 set at a second angle.

Anchor 1030 may have multiple tensioning members affixed thereto, so as to allow side forces to be cancelled at the anchor point rather than in the wall.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional diagram of an tenth embodiment of the invention showing that only elevated guying tensional members may be used. First sidewall 1102 has only elevated tensional members such as member 1110d, and thus the vertical navigation area is below the members: this embodiment may be either original equipment or a retrofit.

The disclosure is provided to allow practice of the invention by those skilled in the art without undue experimentation, including the best mode presently contemplated and the presently preferred embodiment. Nothing in this disclosure is to be taken to limit the scope of the invention, which is susceptible to numerous alterations, equivalents and substitutions without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The scope of the invention is to be understood from the appended claims.