Eastern Bridge Reconstructs First Broad River Span

Wed October 02, 2002 - Southeast Edition
Gwenyth Laird Pernie

First Broad River Bridge, located one-tenth mi. (.16 km) north of SR1521 on NC Highway 10 between Polkville and Caser, NC, was recently rebuilt. The old two-lane bridge, which was built in 1939, was constructed of a concrete deck on I beams — five beams per span. According to Tim Elliott, acting transportation supervisor of Cleveland and Gaston counties, NC, deterioration of concrete and expansion joints, along with an increase in both car and truck traffic led to the decision to replace the bridge.

“By today’s standard, the old bridge was too narrow,” Elliott said. “The new bridge has improved traffic safety to the community.”

The total cost of the project was approximately $2 million. According to Dan Grissom, division construction engineer of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), 80 percent of the project was funded by the Federal Bridge Replacement Program under the Federal Highway Administration, while the remaining 20 percent was funded by the NCDOT.

“Sufficiency ratings, which are done bi-annually, determine if a bridge needs replacement,” Grissom said. “A new bridge will have a sufficiency rating of 100 percent. If the rating falls below 30 percent, the Federal Bridge Replacement Program will consider funding for bridge replacement.”

General contractors for the First Broad River Bridge were the Eastern Bridge Company, located in Blacksburg, SC. Eastern Bridge, a division of Sloan Construction, located in Greenville, SC, has been in business since October 2001, providing new bridge construction to North and South Carolina. Project manager of the First Broad River Bridge was Dick Roth. According to Roth, there were between five and 10 employees at the job site daily. All of the construction equipment, except the Komatsu excavator, was rented from Mitchell Rentals in Charlotte, NC, and the Delmag D1942, owned by Eastern Bridge, was leased, from Moody Machinery, out of Charlotte, NC.

“The equipment leased from Moody was new upon delivery,” Roth said, “and was moved between the First Broad River job site and another nearby the Eastern Bridge job site, depending on need.”

On-site preparations for the new bridge construction began on April 8, 2002, with the installation of a temporary bridge that allowed traffic to be routed away from the new construction site. Eastern Bridge Company rented a temporary two-lane modular truss steel bridge, manufactured by the Mabey Corporation of Elkridge, MD, for the duration of the new bridge construction. Eastern Bridge was responsible for the installation and dismantling of the temporary bridge. The temporary single-span bridge was delivered in sections.

A Terex American HC 80 crane was used to set the two concrete end bents for the substructure. An 80-ton (72.5 t) Terex American HC 80 hydraulic crawler was used to drive the pile and bents, pour the concrete, put the bridge together and launch the bridge. The deck was then set and the guardrails placed using a 55-ton (50 t) Terex mobile rough-terrain crane. Approximately 30 cu. yds. (23 cu m) of concrete was used on the temporary bridge.

The detour, including the bridge and road, was 1,700 linear ft. (518 m). Approximately 771 tons (700 t) of asphalt were used on the detour road leading up and away from the temporary bridge. It took one month to erect the 192-ft. (59 m) bridge and pave the detour roads. A Link-Belt 210 LX hydraulic excavator was used for excavating and maintaining access to the temporary bridge.

Upon completion of the permanent bridge, the temporary bridge was dismantled and removed. The original anticipated date of completion of the new bridge had been August 2003; however, because the temporary prefabricated bridge was erected so quickly, the job was completed several months early.

Demolition of the old bridge began on Aug. 28, 2002. To avoid polluting the river, nondestructive methods were used for demolishing the bridge. This was accomplished using turbidity curtain traps, which float on the water and create a barrier that filters out anything that might drop from a bridge as it is demolished.

Concrete Coring Company of Shelby, NC, was subcontracted to saw the old bridge into pieces. This was done using a Komatsu excavator with a demolition hammer. Eastern Bridge then used an 80-ton (72.5 t) Terex American HC 80 crane to remove the sections, the girders, and finally the substructure. The steel girders, removed from the old bridge, will be reused in the construction of a new bridge, while the old concrete was sent to a disposal pit. Completion of the demolition and removal of the refuse took two weeks.

Construction of the new two-lane bridge began in September 2002. An 80-ton (72.5 t) Terex American HC 80 hydraulic crawler crane was used to drive the two end bents on steel H piles then erect the bridges four-span prestressed concrete girders. Next, three interior bents on drilled piers, two of which are hammer head piers, were installed using a Delmag D1942. Approximately 537 cu. yd. (410 cu m) of concrete were used in the construction of the new bridge and another 771 tons (700 t) of asphalt were used on the road leading up and away from the permanent bridge. The new bridge is 360 ft. (110 m) long and 33 ft. (10.1 m) wide.

Earthmoving and grading was subcontracted to Clark Ledbetter of Grading and Hauling Incorporated out of Shelby, NC. A total of approximately 22,236 cu. yd. (17,000 cu m) of unclassified excavation occurred at the job site, while another 10,464 cu. yd. (8,000 cu m) of borrow excavation was brought to the site.

According to Roth, the project moved along as planned and was completed several months earlier than originally estimated.

Elliott added, “The new bridge is 8 ft. wider than the old bridge and has improved the quality and safety of the road — a benefit to the overall community.”