“The conveyor belt can basically take construction traffic out of the work zone, or out of the general purpose traffic lane, so they can dump concrete right in the work zone,” said Tim Rose, project director.
A special conveyor bridge is currently being utilized on a Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) project along I-15 between northern Utah County and Draper. The overall project, valued at $252 million, involves rebuilding a 7-mi. (11.26 km) section known as The Point because of its location around the point of a mountain. It is expected to be complete by the fall of 2016.
“The idea for the conveyor came from the contractor [Utah County Constructors] as part of their proposal,” said Tim Rose, project director. “The conveyor belt can basically take construction traffic out of the work zone, or out of the general purpose traffic lane, so they can dump concrete right in the work zone. There are no more trucks in the work zone pulling in and out of traffic. It was very attractive to the department to have them do that. So they proposed it, they won on the low bid on the contract, and now they’re using it. It’s been in operation now for probably four or five weeks, and probably will be in operation for another six weeks or so.”
The conveyor came from Arizona with McNeil, the concrete pavers for project. Known as a Bailey Bridge, the temporary structure goes up over the freeway, with the conveyor sitting on top.
Rose noted that the device is being used to convey concrete. The conveyor belt drops into an 8- or 9-yard hopper on the other side, and the trucks pull up and drop the concrete down the hopper.
“It’s [going to] be a pretty tight operation, or else you have to shut the conveyor down because it only holds 8 or 9 yards,” Rose said. “So as far as their logistics of getting trucks in and out, they do a really good job of that. They have their portable batch plant set up right there on the side of the freeway, and they dump it right on the conveyor and up over the top and into the mill,” he said. “That’s all they’re planning to use it for. Some people put aggregate and that sort of stuff in with it, but they’re done with all that work, so they’ll be just using it for concrete for the remainder of the project.”
Rose has been pleased with the way the Bailey Bridge is performing.
“It’s working out fantastic,” he said. “I’m a little bummed that they didn’t get that thing in three or four weeks earlier, because it really could have helped them. It’s just been great. It’s improved the safety of the project by keeping those concrete trucks out of the work zone — they’re not coming in and out, and their efficiency is improved. They can basically pour 24/7 if they’d like. It just saved tons, and in terms of concrete being moved over the highways, it is extremely important to us to help keep traffic moving. We don’t have to shut the traffic down as much, and it improved the safety aspect of everything, and also the efficiency of the operation as well.”
Rose stated that he hopes that this type of conveyor can be used in future projects, as well.
“It’s got to be pretty site-specific though is the problem,” he said. “You have to have a batch plant or an aggregate source really close. If it makes sense, we’d probably do that.”