Cofferdams: What They Are and How to Use Them

Cofferdams are temporary enclosures built within a body of water so the water can be pumped out of an enclosed area. They’re essential for creating a dry working environment so building and repair crews can excavate riverbeds and build or repair underwater structures along rivers, lakes, and other waterways.

Traditionally, these structures are quite expensive and challenging to build. However, there are solutions that allow crews to work safely in watery environments.

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How TrapBag® Works as a Temporary Cofferdam Solution

TrapBag barriers can be installed at a fraction of the cost of conventional steel sheet pile walls. They also take much less time to install and can even be installed directly in the water up to certain depths.

Setting up TrapBag as a temporary cofferdam is as easy as three simple steps:

  • Open the packaging: The entire TrapBag unit will be folded up in its packaging. Remove it from the package and stretch the barrier to its desired length, up to 50 feet.
  • Fill the cells: You can do this either manually with shovels and buckets or all at once with a dump truck or bulldozer. Sand, concrete, or washed gravel make the best filler materials for TrapBag.
  • Place or stack the barrier where needed: If you’re working in shallower waters, simply place the TrapBag barrier where you need it. You can also stack the units on top of each other or connect more together before draining the water from the center of the structure.
Cofferdam TrapBags

Cellular Cofferdams for Underwater Construction

With proper dredging and other preparations, workers can use cellular cofferdams to complete construction projects in shallow water. Cellular cofferdams are interconnected cells within the body of water where the water has been dredged or otherwise removed.

These can be used for installing bridge piers and footings, locks, dams, and other in-water structures and machinery.

Braced Structures for Infrastructure Repair Work

Where cellular cofferdams are primarily used for underwater construction, these are used to support walls on excavation projects, or otherwise hold water back from excavation sites.

Each cofferdam variety has advantages and disadvantages. The project location, budget, and site limitations should be considered before installing a specific type of cofferdam.

TrapBag as an Alternative to Traditional and Sandbag Cofferdams

The typical cofferdam cost can easily soar into the tens of thousands of dollars for traditional structures. Even more, they can easily deteriorate with repeated use, especially in the presence of saltwater.

However, TrapBag is a more affordable solution that has been trusted for everything from riverbank stabilization to storm surge protection for years. It’s as good at keeping water in as it is at keeping water out, making it ideal for construction and engineering projects where water can cause problems and setbacks.

Who Can Use TrapBag for Cofferdam Construction?

Government Entities

Public works departments and other government agencies can utilize TrapBag to create working environments in aquatic or flood-prone areas of all kinds. Whether it’s for emergency bridge maintenance and repair or larger city planning projects, TrapBag cofferdams create a safe, watertight setting for agency workers to get the job done.

construction weather protection

Construction Firms

Building and demolition companies can use a cofferdam for bridge construction and other projects that require working in areas that are normally covered in water. They’re also less expensive to purchase and build than traditional sheet pile structures, making them an ideal solution for keeping projects on shallower creeks and riverbeds within scope.

Other Organizations

We work with civil engineering firms, emergency management organizations, mining companies, and everyone in between to protect the projects and places that matter most. Whether you need a way to stabilize riverbanks or contain stormwater to prevent it from entering the drinking water supply, TrapBag can protect life and property from all sorts of construction and natural damage. It’s also a great solution for security barriers, stormwater detention and retention, temporary seawall systems, and much more.

Make TrapBag Your Go-To for Building Cofferdams

Whether you live in an area prone to flooding, river stabilization, erosion control, or anything in between, TrapBag can protect life and property from all sorts of natural disasters and damage. It’s also a great solution for security barriers, stormwater detention and retention, cofferdam systems, and much more.

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For immediate assistance please call (239) 674-6611.
We are available 24/7.