Building bridges across North America
By Hannah Sundermeyer04 September 2019
The ACT team rounds up some of the latest in innovative bridge projects.
A crucial key to transportation infrastructure, bridges are mighty feats of engineering that serve as conduits across the country. As bridge technology advances, so do the techniques for lifting and setting a variety of elements in the realm of bridge construction.
“The use of Accelerated Bridge Construction, (ABC) is growing, with prefabricated elements and systems reducing or eliminating the onsite construction time needed to build a similar structure using conventional methods,” said Donald Krause, vice president of marketing communications, Stevenson Crane. “Cranes play a major role in the completion of these types of bridge projects. From the loading of the prefabricated bridge elements and systems onto the heavy haul trucks to the off-loading and setting of the bridge spans, cranes are utilized.”
ACT rounds up latest bridge project endeavors around North America.
In 2019 Lampson partnered with Apollo Inc. to plan and execute the lift and placement of the Duportail Bridge spans. The Lampson Transi-Lift LTL-1100, equipped with 380 feet of boom and 1,600 kips of counterweight, was utilized for the project. The largest girder was 175 feet long and weighed 228,000 pounds with rigging. The longest reach was 320 feet.
The guideway spans were installed using Mammoet’s SPMTs in tandem with a JS500 jacking system.
The Duportail Bridge was a combined Washington State and City of Richland project, estimated at $25 million. Lampson International supplied concrete test weights for Apollo to use to build a pad 20 feet out into the Yakima River to reach the Queensgate side of the bridge.
Lampson set 50 girders in four weeks and had the crane dismantled and offsite in two weeks in accordance with Apollo’s schedule. The main challenge of the project was the constant changing of the water level that was monitored on every lift.
ABC success story
Mammoet safely completed the launch of a light rail guideway in Edmonton, Alberta, using the ABC method. Mammoet was contracted by TransEd Civil Joint Venture to assist with installing the elevated guideway of the Valley Line LRT project, an 8-mile light rail system that will accommodate Edmonton’s growing mass transportation needs. As part of the rail system, two concrete guideway spans needed to be installed to form a bridge over one of the busiest freeways in Edmonton. Using conventional bridge construction would have taken months and caused major disruption to thousands of commuters. The ABC method provided a faster and safer execution and resulted in the two guideway spans being set over the course of two nights.
The ABC method allowed the TransEd Civil Joint Venture to cast the concrete guideway spans next to the installation site in a controlled location and at a lower elevation, eliminating working at height risks. From the cast location about 328 feet away, the guideway spans were transported and set into place using a JS500 jacking system on top of SPMTs. The south span was moved and set on the first night and the north span on the next night.
A pedestrian bridge was recently set in a new subdivision development in Lehi, UT. Not a typical pedestrian bridge, the huge structure clocked in at 220 feet long and weighed 187,000 pounds. Wagstaff Crane teamed up with D.R. Horton and Noland Construction to accomplish a challenging bridge lift and installation using three large all terrain cranes working together.
A Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 picked and placed six 117-foot precast beams on a bridge project near Indiana University Northwest.
“The city of Lehi wanted a pedestrian bridge, two-fold, and it will act as means to get pedestrians across the river to the park,” said R.R. Horton’s Dave Martin. “Plus, it will be carrying the sewer main that feeds this whole west side of the river.”
The team utilized a Liebherr LTM 1750, two Grove GMK 7550s and a GMK 5275 working together to set the bridge. Being close to the Jordan River, the company had to do some excavation to get the bank stabilized enough so they could set up the cranes right next to the river. Because the reach was so far, multi-crane cooperation was critical.
A perfect fit
A Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 gained new fans in the Hoosier State, prompted by a recent bridge project near Indiana University Northwest. Ellas Construction of Gary, IN, was the general contractor on the job, hiring Central Rent-A-Crane, a member of the ALL Family of Companies, to provide the 1750 for the work.
“The 1750 is the only machine that could have done this job,” said Marty Zurbriggen, general manager, Ellas Construction. “We didn’t have the room on the site to use a dual-pick system. A landing beam wasn’t an option, either, because these bridge beams were too large for that. It had to be a single pick, and the 1750 is the only choice that is small enough to fit, with a capacity great enough to make the pick.”
With its 900-ton capacity and rigged with 171-feet of boom, the LTM 1750-9.1 picked six 117-foot precast bridge beams weighing 130,000 pounds and set them over the Little Calumet River.
“The site had limited space for setup – another reason the 1750 was ideal,” said Larry Macuga, sales manager for Central Rent-A-Crane. Using a crawler would have required extensive site preparation and added time for mobilization, assembly and disassembly.
“Add to that a radius of about 100 feet, plus the bridge was skewed, meaning the beams had to be set at an angle across the river,” he said.
As part of the Chase Street Bridge replacement project in Indiana, Imperial Crane Services and Superior Construction spent several months of tedious pre-planning to prepare for this job. A Liebherr LR1300 SX was chosen to stay under 75 percent of the crane’s capacity to lift six 214,000-pound, 110-foot-long concrete beams at a 35-foot radius over the course of three nights.
A revised M.O.T plan was developed to utilize a large crawler crane and set up and be protected behind barrier wall. Beam removal and setting required 15-minute rolling road closures between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. The flexibility of the LR1300SX allowed for the beams to be picked and carried. Beams were removed in two nights and erected in two nights.
This was a time-sensitive project as all westbound I-94 lanes of traffic had to be closed for 15 minutes per beam to conduct the lift safely. There was no time for errors. Each of the seven beams had to be lifted and walked back to the east so the shoulder could be utilized for setting them out of the way for demo.
The Mountain Crane team was given a 10-minute window to move a 50-ton bridge along the public roadway at the Salt Lake International Airport. Pictured is the company’s OshKosh M1070 tugger that brought the piece into place and a Liebherr LTM 1220 set it. The job continued over six nights until all seven sections of the pedestrian bridge were pieced together. The airport redevelopment continues with projected completion in 2020.
TNT in Texas
The nearly $1 billion project to expand and improve Highway 288 in Houston included adding a toll road and key connector ramps on 10.3 miles of this heavily travelled roadway. Kicked off in 2016, the project calls for 40 new bridges and 18 new connector ramps.
TNT dispatched more than 10 cranes to the jobsites at various times, depending on the job scope. This included some of the company’s largest units, including a 900-ton Liebherr 1750-9.1, a 625-ton LTM 1500-8.1, a 500-ton LTM 1400-7.1 as well as smaller machines such as the 240-ton Liebherr 1200-5.1 and the 150-ton LTM 1130-5.1. Scheduling for the work was modified according to traffic patterns and weather.
The first job in early 2018 utilized one of TNT’s 800-ton capacity Demag AC700 cranes to lift 200,000-pound column caps onto ramp columns for the busy SH 288 and Beltway 8 intersection. Work was conducted during the day and overnight. The crane was walked into position between lifts.
Later TNT moved closer to downtown Houston (and adjacent to TNT headquarters) to work at the SH 288 and Interstate IH 610 South intersection. For this part of the construction, TNT removed the old bridge beams and connectors and installed new ones. A pair of 800-ton capacity Demag AC700s were used to remove the old structure. TNT’s 625-ton Liebherr 1500-8.1 set the new beams and connectors.
TNT’s involvement in the expansion project is expected to wrap up in October 2019, and the overall project is expected to be completed by year-end.
The growing population in the Denver metro area exponentially increases the amount of vehicle, rail and light-rail traffic throughout the city and its surrounding areas. Winslow Crane Service got to work on the Central Park Boulevard Bridge Expansion Project as an effort to address these issues in this busy section of the city.
Multiple obstacles needed to be overcome during the bridge expansion as the project not only impacted local vehicle traffic, but the bridge spanned live railroad and Denver RTD (light-rail) tracks. Public safety concerns required that the project be performed at night between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. to minimize local disruption and maximize safety. With the largest of the beams measuring in at 164 feet and weighing 172,817 pounds, extreme care and precision was required throughout the four nights of work. To safely span the tracks and set the multiple beams, Winslow Crane’s team developed a customized lift plan utilizing its 500-ton Liebherr LTM 1400-7.1 and 275-ton Link-Belt ATC-3275 all-terrain cranes.
A tandem lift like this allows each of the cranes to share the load of the beams while maintaining a high level of safety and stability during the lift, swing, and set. The Liebherr LTM 1400-7.1 was configured with 135 feet of boom, 308,600 pounds of counterweight at a radius of 120 feet, while the Link-Belt ATC-3275 was configured with 120 feet of boom, 156,500 pounds of counterweight at a radius of 75 feet.
Working against nature
Stevenson Crane Service was tasked to lift and set five prefabricated bridge spans to complete a 300-foot bridge over the Des Plaines River in Willow Springs, IL. The first challenge was to maneuver the seven-axle Liebherr LTM 1400-7.1 down the John Husar I&M Canal Trail. All the steering options were utilized to negotiate the pedestrian and bike path to crab the crane into position at the abutment on the south end. Along the trail the ground needed to be excavated to allow the crane to fit through the low clearance bridge. A second LTM 1400-7.1 was positioned near the north abutment on a frontage road.
There were five spans with a total weight of 2160,000 pounds that were used to span the river. The final assembly was completed as quickly as possible as the river was rising, and the shoreline was disappearing.
In November 2018, a one-mile stretch of major highway in Winston-Salem, NC was closed for demolition and resurfacing. The stretch of road is set to reopen in early 2020, complete with new bridge overpasses, modernized on and off ramps, and a straighter path with fewer curves through the city.
To accommodate a fast-track schedule, a 200-ton Link-Belt 248 HSL was purchased to work at eight traffic and two pedestrian bridges. All but three of the bridges are single span, with 65-inch bulb tee pre-stressed concrete beams measuring as long as 124 feet and weighing up to 113,000 pounds.
Three of the bridge crossings are single span, each with six concrete girders placed eight feet apart. As of May 2019, the pace of bridge construction may be the most impressive aspect of the project. A new bridge is constructed every six weeks.
The 248 HSL is positioned on a 100-foot stretch of timber mats to lift the girders off transport trailers and into position. This length of timber matting was used to accommodate the 14-month schedule that will see construction at all hours of the day and night.
Bridge and abutment foundations have been reinforced with 24-inch H-pile. Most of those have been driven with a diesel hammer with 110-foot-long leads attached to the 248 HSL with 165 feet of boom, enabling the pile to be longer.
It will take over 10 years to complete the CSVT Susquehanna River Bridge in Union County, PA. Upon completion, the bridge will span over 4,500 feet and stand 180 feet at its peak elevation. The bridge is part of a larger 13-mile limited access highway connecting PA 147 to US 11/15 in Snyder County.
Buckner HeavyLift Cranes, working together with Century Steel, are successfully setting the steel girders for the bridge. Transporting the cranes to the site has been a challenge, given the variations of grade and remote narrow roads not originally intended for heavy machinery or for mobile crawler cranes. Before the job began, small islands were built to avoid flooding the work area.
Buckner has provided three cranes: a Liebherr LR 1400 and LR 1600 with main boom and fixed jib and a LR 1750 with main boom only. Due to the size and span of the project and the riverside jobsite, cranes with a wagon or tray could not be used. Working around the highly travelled railroad required increasing the lifted load weight by a safety factor of 50 percent. Tandem lifts are also required due to space restrictions and the length of some pieces that measured up to 230 feet.