A new suspension bridge is being built over the Tacoma Narrows, Washington. The bridge will be placed on a structure mounted on two large concrete caissons. The caissons are being constructed in a floating position by pouring concrete at site. During this construction period, the floating caissons are moored in place and will be subject to high currents in the Narrows at a range of drafts. In order to investigate the motions of the caisson and the mooring line loads, physical model tests were performed at a scale of 1:100 at HR Wallingford (HRW). The actual bottom contours of the Narrows near the construction site was duplicated in the model. The catenary mooring lines were highly nonlinear. The current forces and moments on the floating caisson included steady and oscillating components due to flow separation and vortex shedding. There is an existing bridge mounted on two piers in the vicinity of the new caissons, which introduced an appreciable flow interference effect. The tests were conducted in both the ebb and flood flow directions so that the effect of the shadowing of the caisson-pier pair could be studied in the tests. The recorded results of the elastic mooring tests were compared in terms of the maximum measured tensions with a time-domain dynamic motion simulation program, MOTSIM. The results of this comparison are presented in this paper.

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