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Joseph B. Fay Builds New McConnells Mills Bridge

Mon November 08, 2010 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Rupp

The McConnells Mills Bridge project is well under way with Joseph B. Fay Company of Russellton, Pa., at the helm.

The project is for the replacement of the McConnells Mills Bridge, which carries SR 19 (Perry Highway) over SR 422 (Benjamin Franklin Highway) at the Butler County/Lawrence County line in Muddy Creek Township, Pa. The 99-ft. (30 m) bridge was originally constructed in 1949 and sees an average daily traffic of 4,643 vehicles.

Work on the $5.6 million endeavor began in May 2010 and expected to be complete by September 2011.

The project consists of the construction of a three lane, single span composite pre-stressed concrete I-beam bridge with minor approach work and minor relocation of existing on/off ramps.

The design also encompasses the construction of a park-n-ride in the infield where the old ramps were previously located.

“The rockers that support the beams on the old bridge were in bad shape,” said Tim Acken, inspector-in-charge of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). “The bridge deck had been overlaid and patched more than once.”

During construction, the shoulders are being widened on SR 19, SR 422 and the ramps built to accommodate lane shifts. One northbound and one southbound lane of traffic are being maintained on SR 19 by shifting traffic to the widened shoulders. Floodlights are used during nighttime construction. While working on the ramps, flaggers are maintaining traffic. During bridge demolition and beam placement, traffic will be stopped on SR 19 and SR 422 for periods of 20 minutes.

Joseph B. Fay Company has been in the construction business for more than 50 years and is now in its third generation of operation. As the prime contractor, Fay is performing the bridge demolition and rebuild, drainage and embankments.

Pennsylvania subcontractors include Moretrench of Monroeville for drilled caissons, and Steel Core Construction Inc. of Jeannette for tying steel. IA Construction Corp., based in Zelienople, Pa., is in charge of sub-base and paving. Protection Services Inc., headquartered in Harrisburg, was hired for traffic control, and Penn Line Service Inc. of Scottdale, Pa., is providing guide rails.

PennDOT has been working closely with local business to ensure full access during business hours. Traffic was temporarily shut down at night to remove the beams from the existing bridge. During the daytime, the speed limit has been reduced to 45 mph and the traffic lanes are under 11-ft. wide restrictions.

Fay is excavating 15,000 cu. yds. (11,468 cu m) of earth and pavement and is using as much as possible for the new embankment. An environmental permit allows Fay to place the waste in the infield areas. Excavation equipment includes a Komatsu 300 excavator, a Volvo 210 excavator, a JCB 215 backhoe, and two Caterpillar dozers, models D5 and D6.

Other Fay equipment: a 28-ton (25 t) Grove rough-terrain crane, an 84-in. (213 cm) Ingersoll Rand smooth drum roller, and a 32-in. (81.3 cm) Mikasa walk-behind roller. Fay rented a grader from IA Construction, and also rented a JLG 400S 40-ft. telescopic aerial lift from All Crane of West Elizabeth, Pa.

The new bridge calls for 350 yds. (320 m) of AAA concrete for the decks, 230 yds. (210 m) for parapets and approaches, and 610 cu. yds. (466.4 cu m) of A-class for facings and substructure. Titusville Steel is providing 141,000 lbs. (63,956.5 kg) of steel.

“This project was designed a little different from traditional bridge projects,” said Ryan Wagner, project engineer of Joseph B. Fay. “Most bridges are built on spread footers with H-piles driven into bedrock. McConnells Mills foundation is all caissons.”

Wagner said that this design was chosen to save money, as a traditional bridge design would have required a great deal of shoring. Fay currently has 10 crew members on the job, working five 8-hour day shifts.

This area of Pennsylvania is known for another McConnells Mills Bridge just a couple of miles away. Built in 1874, McConnells Mill Covered Bridge spans Slippery Rock Creek in McConnells Mill State Park. The park is a popular place for picnicking, climbing, rappelling and fishing. CEG

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