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7 Million Pounds of Steel Steady KY’s First Cable-Stayed Span

Wed May 17, 2000 - Southeast Edition
Mike Kelly

Construction of Kentucky’s first cable-stayed bridge is currently underway between Maysville, KY, and Aberdeen, OH.

The Maysville Bridge span the Ohio River, approximately three miles down stream from the existing Kenton Simon Bridge. The old bridge – which was built in 1931 and is reported to be a prototype of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA – will remain in operation after the completion of the new span.

Three years ago, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet contracted two designs for a cable-stayed bridge. While both designs were for the cable-stayed bridge, one design utilized steel beams under the bridge deck while the other used concrete.

Traylor Brothers Inc., Maysville, KY, submitted the lowest bid using the steel design, and a year later they broke ground. American Consulting Engineers P.L.C., Lexington, KY, in association with Michael Baker Jr. Inc. Consulting, Pittsburgh, PA, were chosen to assist Traylor Brothers.

“This being a cable bridge makes this a unique project because there aren’t many of that type constructed today,” said Scott Turnpaugh of Taylor. “Our share of the project is around $36.5 million.”

He said the bridge will consist of five continuous spans of 38, 121, 318, 121 and 38 meters (125, 400, 1,050, 400 and 125 ft). The top of the two river towers will each be 92 meters (304.5 ft.) above the normal pool of the river.

A house is only as good as its foundation and that goes for bridges as well. The new Maysville bridge has two types of foundations that are used to support the bridge piers. The two main river piers and several of the smaller piers are founded on drilled shafts. The remaining support piers and abutments use a steel H-pile foundation.

Drilled shafts are a type of deep foundation. They are similar to driving a nail into a piece of wood. The nail resists the blows from the hammer by spreading the energy from the hammer to the nail sides and end to the surrounding wood.

The larger the nail diameter the less distance the nail will travel from the blows of the hammer. Drilled shafts spread the load — weight and other forces, such as wind, ice, and earthquakes — from the bridge to an area of soil and/or rock below the bridge.

The size, or diameter, of the drilled shaft must be large enough so that the resistance of the soil/rock is not exceeded. A drilled shaft not only uses side friction, but its end also rests on a competent soil, rock, dense sand, gravel or firm clays, which provides additional resistance.

Drilled shafts of this type are referred to as end bearing drilled shafts. This is the type used on the new Maysville cabled-stayed bridge.

Essentially, a drilled shaft is constructed by drilling a hole through the unsatisfactory soil strata beneath the substructure or footer of the bridge pier until it reaches the competent soil/rock.

The bearing surface at the bottom of the hole is inspected by taking a core sample, and the soil/rock is analyzed for strength. Reinforcing steel is then placed into the drilled shaft hole and then the hole is filled with concrete.

On the Maysville Bridge, Traylor Brothers will drill 16 socket shafts into each of the two main river piers that are 1.8 meters (6 ft.) in diameter and about 18 meters (60 ft.) long. The shafts are drilled into solid rock using large auger drills, a minimum of 3 meters (10 ft.).

All the bridges’ drilled shafts are drilled into a hard stratum or limestone rock a minimum of 3 meters (10 ft.) where the bridges loads are transferred by friction. The drilled shafts used on this bridge use a temporary cylindrical steel casing that is lowered in the hole as the drill progresses.

The temporary steel casing supports the soil around the hole as the hole is drilled. These casings are withdrawn in stages as the fresh concrete is placed into the drilled shaft.

Steel reinforcing is installed in the drilled shafts from the shaft bottom to 2.4 meters (8 ft.) above the top of the drilled shaft. This allows the drilled shaft to be joined to the footer of the superstructure.

The deck was constructed on site by Traylor Brothers and consists of precast panels of permeable micro silica high strength concrete. The distance from barrier wall to barrier wall is 15 meters (50 ft.), which will accommodate two 3.6-meter (12 ft.) wide lanes and two 3.6-meter (12 ft.) wide shoulders.

The project also includes:

• 161,285 kilograms (358,413 lbs.) of steel piling;

• 162,974 cubic meters (214,440 cu. yds.) of concrete;

• 1,333,382 kilograms (2,963,070 lbs.) of reinforcing steel;

• 3,149,863 kilograms (6,999,696 lbs.) of steel cable;

• 2,823,488 kilograms (6,274,417 lbs.) of structured steel; and

• more than 22.4 kilograms (14 mi.) of electrical wiring.

“We used a number of cranes of this project,” Turnpaugh said. “The crane on the drill rig was an American 9310 which is a 200 class rig. We also used two ringer mounted 4100 Manitowoc and at times a smaller 3900 Manitowoc, all of which we own.”

He said they also rented a smaller Manitowoc 4100 which was used while erecting some of the precast beams on the overgrade of Kentucky Road Eight.

Some of the main contractors on the project included: Westend Electric, Portsmouth, OH; Thomas Industrial Coating, MO, for painting; Javier Steel, Louisville, KY, reinforced steel; Ahern Inc. for the latex overlay on the deck; HG Mays for some asphalt work; George B. Stone will provide the guardrails; and Hayden Brothers Construction will work on the embankments at each of the approaches.

Turnpaugh said the bridge will be open for traffic this fall. A newly constructed connecting route (KY 3071) from the AA Highway to existing KY 8 has been completed and is now open to the public. The route will become US 68/62 when the new bridge is completed, linking the AA Highway to US 52 in Ohio.

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