List Your Equipment  /  Dealer Login

27 Bridges, $130M Rejuvenate Oldest Stretch of Interstate

Sat May 27, 2000 - Midwest Edition
Megan Nichols

The oldest stretch of interstate highway in the nation, I-70 between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in St. Louis, MO, is being updated by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The six-year, $130-million project includes the rehabilitation of 27 bridges along this urban corridor.

The Plan

The $17-million Cole Street overpass rehabilitation project in downtown St. Louis is the first to be completed. The renovation, which started in spring 1998, kicked off the massive project that is slated for completion in 2002.

When the project began, more than 120,000 vehicles traveled the stretch of road daily. More than 4,000 vehicles an hour used the three main lanes during morning rush hour, and 2,500 motorists an hour used the east-bound reversible lanes. In afternoon rush hour, 1,600 vehicles of the 6,500 vehicle total used the reversible lanes.

A large number of St. Louis commuters are impacted by the bridge replacement program. MoDOT public affairs officials publicize closures well in advance of the date in order to minimize the impact on travelers. Because the section of renovated interstate is near Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, the schedule for major closings is coordinated with the baseball team’s schedule.

Motorists anticipate that the end result — a more efficient I-70 — will be well worth any inconvenience. When work is complete, the corridor will have eight lanes, three east-bound, three west-bound, and two reversible center lanes.

According to Gary Drikow, MoDOT resident engineer responsible for projects inside the city limits of St. Louis as well as north St. Louis County, stage one for most of the bridges is working on the center, reversible lanes. The second stage is construction of the east-bound lanes. The third stage is work on the west-bound lanes.

The Challenges

Certain challenges are inherent with building or renovating along an urban corridor. MoDOT’s challenges include providing the contractors with a place for equipment and material storage in an extremely limited space.

The tight right-of-way also presents construction challenges, as does the exceptionally heavy traffic volume that usually increases during the summer.

“Our challenge is not only to upgrade but to do so with the existing right of way,” Drikow explained.

The Status

Contractors are rising to the project’s challenges. KCI Construction Co. is currently replacing bridges over seven city streets. Millstone Bangert Inc. is replacing five bridges over I-70.

KCI’s contract for just over $22 million is for bridges over the following city streets: Branch, Prairie, Angelica, Grand, Riverview and Buchanan, as well as at the Terminal Railroad Bridge at Kingshighway.

Branch Street and Angelica Street were in stage three with west-bound lane work completed in April. Prairie Avenue and Grand Avenue are also on target for a May finish date. At Buchanan Street, the bridge is being replaced with an earth fill, and the city street will be permanently closed.

At Riverview Drive and the Terminal Railroad Bridge at Kingshighway, exceptions to the typical order of the stages have occurred. Rather than completing the east-bound lanes as stage two and then the west-bound lanes as stage three, the second and third stages are reversed.

June is the anticipated completion date of stage two, the west-bound lanes, at Riverview.

Work on stage three, the east-bound lanes, is scheduled to start in July with demolition of the current structure as the first order of business. Plans call for completion of this phase by November.

“We’re finishing stage two [west bound] at the Terminal Railroad Bridge and plan to do the traffic switch and begin the demolition for the east-bound lanes by May of this year,” Drikow explained.

KCI is joined by a number of subcontractors who are currently active on the project.

Millstone Bangert Inc., received the $19.1-million contract to replace the following bridges over I-70: Union Boulevard, Adelaide Avenue, West Florissant Avenue and Taylor Avenue.

At Union, the concrete deck was poured in late March, and plans call for the structure to be reopened in June.

Spirtas Wrecking, St. Louis, MO, demolished the Taylor Avenue Bridge for Millstone Bangert in early May and the West Florissant Bridge in mid May.

On Friday May 12, Spirtas Wrecking crews began working at 9:00 p.m. to demolish the West Florissant Bridge. Spirtas crews worked in shifts for 24 hours to finish the project by Sunday morning.

Spirtas Wrecking used a Komatsu 300 excavator equipped with a hydraulic breaker to tear down the bridge; a Komatsu 400 with a 24-meter (80 ft.) reach with a shear attachment to cut the rebar; and a Kobelco 300 and a 5299 American crane with a 6,300 kilogram (14,000 lb.) headache ball were also used.

Jeff Lacavich, project manager, Spirtas Wrecking, said the company began by hammering the deck off of the bridge. Crews used the excavators to process the rebar and trucks are hauling the iron and concrete to be recycled or reused.

The demolition was a success, according to Lacavich who credited the crew. “ I’m absolutely happy with the crew and how the equipment performed. They did a great job.” he said.

Spirtas Wrecking also is under contact to demolish the Adelaide Bridge the second week in July. Ninety days is allowed for the demolition and completion of the bridge, which will be an inverset structure.

“The bridge deck and girders are manufactured off site as one complete unit. The girders and deck actually sit upside down,” Drikow explained. “The dense aggregate goes to the bottom; it’s the driving surface when the structure is flipped.

“The typical columns and caps are in place when the girders and deck are brought to the site and flipped over,” he continued. “The parts are put together like a giant puzzle.”

St. Louis Pre-Stress in Glen Carbon, IL, will make the inverset. Workers will grout the joints once the inverset is set in place.

The Future

St. Louis Bridge Company was recently awarded a $12.3-million contract for work on Springdale, Airflight, Coldwater Creek and Cypress Road bridges with a notice to proceed of May 1.

Contracts will be let later this year or early in 2001 for work on the Shreve, Kingshighway, O’Fallon, Goodfellow, Jennings Station, Lucas & Hunt, Bermuda, Wabash Railroad and Hanley Road bridges.

The contract for the Salisbury bridge is to be let in January 2001.

Today's top stories

Larry Young Paving Tackles Grade-Separated Interchange in Texas

NAPA Urges Drivers to 'Watch For Us' During National Work Zone Awareness Week

Caltrans, Crews Working to Repair Highway Landslides

Landscapers, Contractors, Dealers Can 'Test Before They Invest' in Equipment in Equip Expo's 30-Acre Outdoor Demo Yard

John Deere Launches Nationwide Search for First-Ever Chief Tractor Officer

Growing Interest in Construction Careers Among Younger People Means Jobs Filled, Deadlines Met

American Bridge Co. Leads Conn.'s East Haddam Swing Bridge Project

New Rocket Park at Huntsville, Ala.'s Space Program Museum Nearing Completion


aggregateequipmentguide-logo agriculturalequipmentguide-logo craneequipmentguide-logo forestryequipmentguide-logo truckandtrailerguide-logo
39.04690 \\ -77.49030 \\ Ashburn \\ PA