San Juan Creek Levee CMAR


Ames Construction provided a vital upgrade to a one-mile segment of the San Juan Creek flood control channel in California using a CMAR (Construction Manager-At-Risk) delivery method. The improvements to the aging levee enhance safety for residents, businesses, and property in the neighboring communities of San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point.

Ames installed steel sheet piles, columns, stainless steel tension cables, concrete block walls, support structures, and new drainage systems. The anchor columns tie back the steel sheet piles with the stainless-steel auxiliary cable system underneath a bikeway, new maintenance road, and riding and hiking trail. The continuous sheet pile was driven to a depth of nearly 54 feet, and the pipe to a depth of nearly 40 feet.

Because of the site’s proximity to residential neighborhoods and businesses, noise and vibration were of particular concern, and typical diesel pile-driving equipment was not a viable option. Instead, Ames made use of a silent piler machine, which uses only hydraulic force to press in the sheets, and a low-impact ABI system with a low-vibratory hammer.

The project was in a confined, narrow work area with a single point of access, and the steel sheet pile and auxiliary system was constructed on the banks of the levee because construction equipment and material were not allowed in the channel itself. The crane and large pile-driving machine tracks filled the entire width of the levee, requiring Ames’ project team to carefully coordinate material needs, equipment shifts, and overall site logistics.

Additional scope included levee grading, construction of a structural concrete cap and a masonry splash wall with a modified cable railing on top, and the paving of a multipurpose asphalt trail.