Workers demolish the existing Route 46 EB bridge over Saddle River.
Known formally as the United Spanish War Veterans Memorial Highway, U.S. Route 46 spans the approximately 75 mi. lying between the eastern and western borders of New Jersey, crossing the state about a third of the way down from its northernmost region and thus presenting the appearance a hitched-up belt on work clothes.
A fanciful simile, perhaps, but numerous workers are currently on the site of a New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) project whereby two bridges are being replaced on Route 46 in Lodi, N.J.
The job is one of many in the state funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
According to NJDOT, New Jersey will receive more than $1 billion from this source. Anticipated funds include $652 million for state and local highway and bridge infrastructure projects and approximately $425 million for transit projects.
The approximately $23.5 million contract for the Route 46 project was awarded to a joint venture of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc., and Joseph M. Sanzari Inc., both based in Hackensack, N.J. The two companies have many similar business interests and have worked as partners in joint ventures on numerous projects.
The Route 46 project is to allow for the raising of Route 46 to eliminate flooding during severe storms. The bridges are being raised approximately 4 to 5 ft. (1.2 to 1.5 m), as are portions of the approaches along Route 46. The cost of the job will be covered by federal stimulus money from ARRA with some assistance from state funds.
“Work began in June 2009 and is currently a year ahead of schedule,” Creamer Project Manager Ron Sheurs said. “The entire project has a completion date of July 2012, with this particular contract slated to be completed by spring 2011.”
Currently, work is ongoing on Stage 1B, which features reconstruction of the two bridges and part of eastbound Route 46. Construction must be performed in various stages to allow for maintaining two lanes of traffic east- and west-bound. As part of the staging, preliminary widening and reconstruction of Route 46 and the bridges was needed to allow for complete shifting of all traffic to the north to allow for the two eastbound and two westbound lanes. Once the work is completed in the current stage, there will be four lanes available to shift the traffic to the south.
“With about half of the job completed, crews are fielding Komatsu excavators, Junttan pile drivers, and a Vogele 2116T paving machine, as well as Komatsu and Caterpillar dozers and loaders,” Sheurs said. “While the number of workers on site fluctuates, on average we have 25 to 30 on the job, including Project Engineer Sean Desmet, our Project Super Joe Rodrigues and Superintendent Frank Lombardi.”
No unusual problems were experienced, although it was necessary to observe certain Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) river restrictions, which disallowed any construction with the Saddle River between March 15 and June 30 of any year.
Key to this project was relocation of the existing 138 kV oil static electric line within the existing bridges.
“The new oil static line was to be relocated and hung between two new steel beams on a new structure located immediately to the south, with this new structure to be incorporated into and part of the new widening work for the overall project,” Sheurs said.
“There was a restriction to only being allowed to perform the switch over of this new electric line between November 1 and April 1 of any year. Also, PSE&G Transmission had to be notified six months in advance to order the cable and set up for the freeze and actual splicing,” he added. “The commitment was made within the company to set this freeze and splicing for the 2009 season. This required a serious coordination and scheduling of the work to construct a portion of the new abutment and also setting of the needed structural steel to support the new oil static line. Then, upon relocation of the existing oil static line, the existing pier within the river had to be removed by March 15.”
“Our efforts in planning and scheduling of equipment and manpower was to ensure all of our demolition and temporary sheeting removal for the center pier of the existing Saddle River Overpass was completed before this March 15 date,” Sheurs said.
“Continual maintenance of all equipment was essential, and utilizing the correct machine work needed activity. We have found through experience that all equipment performs best when it is on a rigid maintenance schedule and any signs of worn hoses or other parts subject to wear are replaced at convenient times so as not have breakdowns and downtime.” he concluded.
Creamer-Sanzari has completed a number of similar projects in New Jersey, most notably two projects in East Rutherford. These were located on Route 17 and Patterson Plank Road, where the job covered reconstruction of bridges on Route 17 and retaining walls and realignment/reconstruction of Patterson Plank Road. Extensive staging and utility relocations were involved. They also carried out work on Route 3 and 120 and constructed Exit 16W on the New Jersey Turnpike, projects needed to allow for the Xanadu development with the New Jersey Sports Authority facility and the new Giants Stadium. The company also was responsible for replacing the superstructure on the Roff Avenue bridge on Route 46 in Palisades Park and several projects along Route 80 in Bergen County.
J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. is a fifth-generation company founded in 1923 in Fort Lee, N.J. Originally operating as a delivery and trucking business, the company branched out with the construction of the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York City by providing the hauling of construction material. The company then subsequently moved into excavation work needed for rising development in New Jersey triggered by the opening of the bridge. After diversifying in various fields such as fuel delivery and pipeline work, demonstrating the company motto of “A Progressive Organization,” today it offers clients heavy construction and utility and site work, among other services.
Joseph M Sanzari Inc. is a family-owned business, which over the past four decades has worked in New Jersey in utility, heavy highway and bridge projects. The company motto for its projects is “On Time and Within Budget.”