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Allegheny River Crossing Well Under Way in ’Burgh

By: Brenda Ruggiero - CEG CORRESPONDENT

Hand chipping is performed around the existing shear connectors at bridges 10 and 20.
Shown, looking eastward, are bridges 10 and 20.
Workers place the approach slab at Boulevard of Allies.
The I-579 (Crosstown Boulevard) Veterans Bridge Preservation Project is divided into two phases, which have been running concurrently since Dec. 12, 2011.
Crews have had to work with all the local stakeholders and try to coordinate work with minimal disruption to city of Pittsburgh events, Consol Energy Center events (Pittsburgh Penguin games and concerts), Heinz Field events (Pittsburgh Steelers), and PNC Park events (Pittsburgh Pirates).

Progress is being made on a large bridge project for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 11 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The I-579 (Crosstown Boulevard) Veterans Bridge Preservation Project is divided into two phases, which have been running concurrently since Dec. 12, 2011.

The less than two-mile stretch of roadway includes the Veterans Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River, and Crosstown Boulevard, a series of bridges that carry the highway over the eastern side of downtown Pittsburgh.

The contracts for both phases were awarded to Trumbull Corporation of Pittsburgh, with John Nemmer serving as project manager.

Phase 1

Phase 1 began on Nov. 15, 2010. The original completion date was set for Nov. 14, 2012, but there was a time extension because extra work was added to the contract for the Boulevard of the Allies. It is currently on schedule for the new completion date.

Trumbull Corporation’s original contract was for $18.7 million. With the additional work added, the new contract amount is $19.8 million. Funding comes from both federal and state sources.

The contract calls for the preservation and rehabilitation of nine existing bridge structures, including bridge painting, deck replacements and repairs, latex concrete deck overlays, concrete substructure repairs, bearing replacements, replacement of existing dams with neoprene strip seal dams, above- and below-ground drainage repairs, pin and hanger retrofits, bituminous pavement, highway lighting, signing, and pavement marking.


According to James Struzzi II, press officer of PennDOT District 11, completing all the work in a heavily traveled urban area while maintaining traffic was one of the difficulties encountered.

“The existing bridges over 579 (bridge 10, 11, and 20) had to be removed and replaced, which was a challenge because the existing decks were composite,” Struzzi said. “Also, these bridges are above the interstate highway, which had to be maintained. The demolition work was made even more difficult because of noise restrictions in the city.”

Struzzi noted that the project was unique in that they had to work with all the local stakeholders and try to coordinate work with minimal disruption to city of Pittsburgh events, Consol Energy Center events (Pittsburgh Penguin games and concerts), Heinz Field events (Pittsburgh Steelers), and PNC Park events (Pittsburgh Pirates). In addition, numerous other construction projects were under way at the same time, including the Squirrel Hill Tunnel and SR 376.

The length of the project is approximately half a mile. Struzzi noted that there was minimal earthmoving, roughly 1,600 cu. yds. (1,223 cu m) of various classes of concrete, and 600,000 lbs. (272,155 kg) of rebar.

Major subcontractors included Century Steel, Dravosburg, Pa., for bearings, pin and hanger retrofit; Strongstown B & K, Strongstown, Pa., for signing, barrier wall; and fabrication of structural steel; Rampart, Coraopolis, Pa., for hydro-demolition of bridge decks; Swank Construction Co., New Kensington, Pa., for saw and seal joints; Safety Grooving & Grinding, New Kensington, Pa., for mechanical grooving of decks; Vantage Corp., Carnegie, Pa., for highway lighting and signing; Beth’s Barricades, Gibsonia, Pa., for traffic control signing; Avalotis Corp., Verona, Pa., for bridge painting; and Parking Lot Painting, Bethel Park, Pa., for pavement markings.

Major equipment used on the job includes a Bidwell for latexing the decks, Caterpillar and John Deere hoes, JLG and Gehl Lulls, and JLG personnel lifts.

Phase 2

Phase 2 began on Dec. 12, 2011, and completion is currently set for June 3, 2013, although the original completion date was Oct. 21, 2013. The project is running on schedule.

Trumbull Corporation’s original contract was awarded for $17 million. However, additional work was added, for a total new contract amount of $17.2 million. Funding is from both federal and state sources.

The contract calls for the preservation of 20 existing bridge structures and one concrete retaining wall. This includes bridge painting, deck repairs, latex concrete deck overlays, concrete substructure repairs, bearing replacements and bearing resets, replacement of existing dams with neoprene strip seal dams, above and below ground drainage repairs, pin and hanger retrofits, bituminous pavement, highway lighting, signing, pavement marking, and ITS work (Dynamic Message Sign and CCTV monitoring).

Struzzi noted that the challenges with this phase of the project were the same as those encountered in Phase 1.

This phase of the project involved minimal earthmoving, 15,000 cu. ft. (425 cu m) of shotcrete, and roughly 1,000 cu. yds. (764 cu m) of various classes of concrete.

Major subcontractors for this phase include Amelie Construction for bearings; Strongstown B & K for signing, barrier wall, and fabrication of structural steel; Mar Allen Concrete Prod. Inc., for shotcrete and waterproofing; Rampart for hydrodemolition of bridge decks and retaining wall; Swank Construction Company for saw and seal joints; Safety Grooving and Grinding for mechanical grooving of decks; Power Contracting for highway lighting and ITS work; and Beth’s Barricades for traffic control signing.

Major equipment used on the job includes a Bidwell for latexing the decks; Caterpillar and John Deere hoes; JLG and Gehl lulls; JLG personnel lifts; a custom- made JLG outfitted with a 30,000 PSI hydro demo head with pumps on a tractor trailer; and several pick-up trucks.

“The concrete retaining wall (approximately 80 ft. high) surface was to be prepped via hydro-demolition prior to the application of new shotcrete,” Struzzi said. “This required designing the equipment and access platform to be site-specific. A FRACO system was used for access to the hydraulic climbing platform and the hydro demo machine.”