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$1.39M Overhaul Rejuvenates Aging Pennsylvania Span

Wed January 17, 2001 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed

Drivers in Butler County, PA, faced slight delays this summer caused by occasional single-lane alternating traffic on the bridge carrying SR l08 over I-79 in Worth Township. In addition, traffic on I-79 itself also was restricted at times to single lanes, but the public’s patience has been well rewarded with the recent reopening of the newly refurbished bridge.

Begun in April 2000, the bridge superstructure replacement involved rehabilitation of a multi-span steel-beam bridge 238-ft. (72 m) long, with the $l.39-million job completely funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The project called for removal of the existing concrete deck, steel and two piers plus removal and reconstruction of portions of the abutments. New beams, concrete deck and parapets were installed. In addition, the old guide rail was replaced and approach slab and pavement relief joint work, as well as drainage improvements and steel painting were carried out.

“Since the project was basically a deck replacement job, very little equipment was required to complete it,” prime contractor Joseph B. Fay Company of Pittsburgh, PA, noted. A Vermeer T-65 trencher/ rock cutter was utilized to section parapets for removal, with a 65-hp (48 kW) concrete saw used on the bridge deck. Once the deck was cut into manageable sections, a PC300LC-6 Komatsu excavator (75,000 lb./33,750 kg operating weight) loaded them on to waiting rented tri-axle trucks for disposal.

As the job progressed, more than a dozen of Fay’s employees, including several carpenters and two equipment operators, worked on site.

The removal of existing structural steel components was accomplished with a Krupp truck crane configured to a 120-ton (108 t) weight class, rented from Maxim Crane Rental of Pittsburgh, PA. The same crane was subsequently used to place new components. Setting of new structural steel was handled by subcontractor Abate Irwin Inc., a steel-erection firm based in Eighty Four, PA.

Pier and abutment removal and associated excavation and backfill work also were carried out with the PC300LC-6 hydraulic excavator, which in addition removed 95 percent of the concrete deck. The remainder of this part of the job was handled with the aid of a Caterpillar 320L hydraulic excavator (46,000 lb./20,700 kg operating weight).

Excavation and backfill work were carried out with a Liebherr 922 hydraulic rubber-tire excavator, supplemented with a JCB 215 Series 3 backhoe loader.

The concrete deck was placed using a Bidwell double roller finishing machine, with concrete being delivered to the deck via a Schwing 42 meter concrete boom pump rented from Howard Concrete Pumping Company Inc. of Cuddy, PA.

The SR l08 bridge project presented few problems for the Joseph B. Fay Company, whose past jobs include the demolition of an approximately two mile-long stretch of I-695, an urban highway also known as the Baltimore Beltway.

That contract involved the demolition of 444 sq. ft. (370 sq m) of deck daily and was completed in less than 90 days.

In fact, the main difficulty to be overcome for the SR l08 bridge was relatively minor, involving arrangements for the passage of vehicular traffic. “The bridge itself was constructed half-width with the SR 108 traffic being single lane, maintained across the structure by use of a traffic signal,” said the company. “Traffic on I-79 was shut down only during the removal and erection of the steel components, for 15-minute intervals on non-event Sundays.” ’Non-event Sundays’ are those when traffic moves at normal levels, unlike holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or the Sunday prior to Memorial Day when vehicle volume is much higher.

The project was finished on schedule in November 2000, apart from some minor asphalt paving that could not be completed due to unseasonably cold weather. The paving will be carried out this spring.

Founded in 1947, the Joseph B. Fay Company is a heavy/ highway/utility contractor based in Pittsburgh, PA, with an office in Baltimore, MD. It handles a wide range of jobs including excavation, site work and the construction of concrete structures, thus offering its clients expertise in virtually all aspects of the business from driving piles to finished concrete work.

The company won awards for the Hartford-Broad Creek and Marshy Hope bridges, constructed for the Maryland Department of Transportation. Conversely, as with the Baltimore Beltway project mentioned above, contracts involving the removal of bridges, buildings and mass concrete structures also have played a major role in its 53-year history.

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