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76-Year Old Golden Gate Bridge Approach Reduced to Rubble in a Weekend

Fri August 03, 2012 - National Edition
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In just 57 short hours over the weekend of April 27 to 30, 2012, NDA member Ferma Corporation of Mountain View, Calif., rolled out its fleet nearly 40 powerful pieces strong and reduced to dust and rubble the creaky and aging southern approach to the Gold
In just 57 short hours over the weekend of April 27 to 30, 2012, NDA member Ferma Corporation of Mountain View, Calif., rolled out its fleet nearly 40 powerful pieces strong and reduced to dust and rubble the creaky and aging southern approach to the Gold
In just 57 short hours over the weekend of April 27 to 30, 2012, NDA member Ferma Corporation of Mountain View, Calif., rolled out its fleet nearly 40 powerful pieces strong and reduced to dust and rubble the creaky and aging southern approach to the Gold Ferma deployed its fleet ranging in size from the monster Cat 5110 down to smaller Cat excavators of the 330 variety. The entire project prgressed smoothly and was completed ahead of schedule. Using hydraulic sheers and hammers, Ferma reduced the roadway to 65,000 tons of debris.

In just 57 short hours over the weekend of April 27 to 30, 2012, NDA member Ferma Corporation of Mountain View, Calif., rolled out its fleet nearly 40 powerful pieces strong and reduced to dust and rubble the creaky and aging southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, known locally as Doyle Drive.

Beginning after the Friday night rush hour, by the time the Monday morning commute rolled around, Ferma’s wrecking machines had smashed through the concrete and rebar that made up the 76-year old roadway, a segment of U.S. Highway 101. Deploying up to six excavators at a time on each stretch of roadway, the old highway came down perfectly according to plan.

The sight of the old skyway coming down drew many spectators, as Ferma deployed its fleet ranging in size from the monster Cat 5110 down to smaller Cat excavators of the 330 variety. The 5110 simply crushed through the roadway, as companion machines moved in to crush the debris and separate the rebar out of the concrete. Ferma loaded huge chunks of roadway into its fleet of articulated dump trucks to get it out of the way, for processing later, so that the road building and paving crews could get the temporary bypass in place.

Included among the powerhouse fleet were several Cat 385s, 375s and many 365s and 345s. Using hydraulic sheers and hammers, Ferma removed 285,000 sq. ft. of roadway over the weekend. The 40 machines in place reduced the roadway to 65,000 tons of debris. This included approximately 5 million pounds of steel, in addition to concrete and other materials.

Supervising the crashing and crunching of about six of these big Cats, Brian Ferrari commented that the neighbors will sure be surprised at the amount of noise and resulting dust from the project that spread through the tony Marina neighborhood, despite satisfactory efforts to control it.

Ferma will spend the next several months processing the materials resulting from the weekend blitz. The concrete will be crushed and used as roadbed for the new Presidio Parkway. The steel will be melted down and recycled for other uses.

The old roadway was replaced with a temporary bypass that opened by 5:00 a.m. Monday morning. That roadway, which moves traffic through a new tunnel and features a movable median barrier to meet changing traffic demands, will stay in place while crews construct a permanent $1.1 billion replacement for the old Doyle Drive. The new roadway will be branded the Presidio Parkway when finished in 2015.

The entire project progressed smoothly and was completed ahead of schedule. Ferma’s work, and the cooperation of passing motorists, was highly praised by the transportation agencies overseeing the project and in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle the morning that the weekend’s demolition was completed.

This article was reprinted with permission from Demolition Magazine Volume 42, No. 4.