Transportation Projects Moving Along: Highway contractors staying busy with complex bridge, road projects
Despite tough economic conditions in the construction industry, contractors working on transportation projects in Utah remain busy, with a host of high-profile projects going on right now.
Below is a glimpse into three key UDOT projects.
U.S. 191 Colorado River Bridge
Crews from Draper, Utah-based Wadsworth Brothers Construction have been working on the $38.5-million Colorado River Bridge project over U.S. 191 outside Moab since March. The project is significant in that it is the first segmental concrete bridge ever to be constructed in the Beehive State for the Utah Dept. of Transportation.
Wadsworth Brothers project superintendent Bruce McCabe says there are several challenging aspects of the job, including working with a unique form traveler system called Bridge Builder, which is manufactured in China and soldby NRS-USA of Aventura, Florida.
WBC crews built a temporary 400-ft-long bridge from which to work off of, so as not to disrupt traffic on the existing bridge. Each twin segment bridge over the river is more than 1,000 ft long and is being built in segments using cast-in-place, cantilever post-tensioned segmental construction.
In addition, crews had to build two large piers to support the concrete bridge, one of which is in the middle of the river about 15 ft below the riverbed and gravel. The pier that sits in the middle of the river was constructed by installing a 40-ft-square sheet pile cell designed to withstand high water flows and allow for pier construction below 35 ft of water and streambed pressures. The piers eventually come together, so the challenge is making sure they’re coming toward each other at the right alignment.
In addition, there are several large 7-ft-diameter caissons to support the piers, drilled down up to 155 ft, which project manager Linn Bogart says was extremely difficult for subcontractor Becho Inc. of Salt Lake City.
“It’s the deepest I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in this business for 30 years,” Bogart says. WBC has 33 crew members on the job, each of whom Bogart says is working more 60-hours-per-week to ensure the project is completed by November 2010.
Asked how the construction team is able to figure out such challenges on the fly, McCabe says with a wry chuckle, “Well, I started going to church again. Actually, you have to study and spend some extra time learning the best way to do it. At the end of the day, you can’t just go home, eat some dinner and go to bed – you do have to do a little homework. It’s expected on projects like this.”
Once the southbound bridge is completed, WBC will demolish the existing bridge and replace it with the northbound bridge to accommodate the flow of traffic. As of October 1, WBC crews had completed the pier table deck section for both Piers 2 and 3, and the segmental form travelers were put into position for initial pours. Sixteen ft sections will be poured in one direction, then 16 ft in the other direction to keep the loads balanced. A high-strength concrete mix is being utilized, with 28-day breaks that average around 9,000 psi, according to McCabe. The Bridge Builder traveler form system is designed to have at a 180-ton capacity, according to NRS-USA regional director Jiri Pol.
I-15 EXPRESSLink / Beck Street Expansion
North Salt Lake, Utah
The scope of the Beck Street expansion project is to reconstruct and widen I-15 from 500 North in Salt Lake City to...