Quick thinking and a unique construction solution allowed crews to repair a burned wooden trestle on the southern approach of the 72-year-old Pattullo Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia, in eight days rather than the anticipated six weeks. The compression-arch, suspended-deck bridge caught fire Jan. 18. As firefighters battled the blaze, Mark Smith, vice president for Surespan Construction, North Vancouver, B.C., hustled his family into his truck and drove to the site. After surveying the charred timbers, Smith called Buckland and Taylor Ltd., the local bridge design firm hired to design a replacement for the wooden structure, to devise a solution.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.