Because of its lift, reach, mobility and duty-cycle times, Luck Brothers’ new Link-Belt HTT-8660 crane is a perfect fit for its first application. The crane is being used to tear down and replace a deteriorating bridge that carries heavy traffic over U.S. Route 3 over the Saranac River, in New York State.
Luck Brothers, based in Plattsburgh, NY, is replacing the old bridge, which is located 7 mi. (11.3 km) west of the small community of Redford. The span has a 1997 average daily traffic estimate 3,828 vehicles and a projected 2003 average daily traffic estimate of 4,513 vehicles.
The structure is being replaced as part of New York Department of Transportation’s (NYDOT) effort to upgrade its outdated infrastructure. To accomplish this, the Luck Brothers first has to replace a smaller bridge, which will be used as a detour for traffic around the primary bridge during the time of its replacement.
Both bridges are located within environmentally-sensitive Adirondack State Park, which are situated over pristine trout waters. Government environmental agencies and the organization, Trout Unlimited, are closely monitoring the construction.
The original structure on Cold Brook Road was a steel beam bridge with spread footers, concrete abutments, and a poured concrete deck. It is situated at the confluence of the Cold Brook and the North Fork of the Saranac River, approximately 1 mi. (1.6 km) north of the primary structure. Luck Brothers began work on it in May 2002 and estimated its replacement completion by November.
The new Cold Brook Bridge will be of similar construction as the old one with several very important differences. The first is that the new bridge is being reset in the proper alignment with the river. The second is that the abutment foundations are each set on 22 35-ft. (11 m) long 12-in. (30 cm) H-beam pile. The final difference is the new bridge will be approximately 25 ft. (7.6 m) longer. Reusable, ganged Symons forms with vinyl architectural inserts were used for the abutments, and to give them a rough fieldstone facade.
According to Larry La Barre, bridge superintendent, the work was accessible from both sides of the river. A temporary walkway enabled workers to cross the river from an old bridge girder. The crew worked from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. in order to avoid the peak heat period of the day.
The Link-Belt HTT-8660 crane, according to Tony Esposito, operator, had the reach to span the 130-ft. (40 m) wide river if necessary, but it also had the speed and mobility to easily drive around the rural detour road from one side to the other.
“Our main use of the 60-ton capacity Link-Belt HTT-8660 was for handling forms and materials. There is a lot of rebar and temporary formwork used in the abutments. That’s where the HTT-8660 really came in handy. It can easily handle the forms. We always use a tag line as well to prevent them from acting like a sail in the wind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ganged form or a single panel, I have the control of them and the visibility and stability with the Link-Belt to handle light or heavy loads,” explained Esposito.
The older bridge was built in the 1960s. The old steel beam girder bridge was somewhat misaligned with the river flow. The result of this was erosion around the spread footers and bridge abutments, which were then being undermined.
Once the deck and steel girders were removed, the abutments and footers were next. Luck Brothers successfully petitioned the owners for permission to remove these by blasting. In addition, permits has to be approved by many agencies.
Luck subcontracted the removal, after it installed the extensive in-place environmental filter protections. Primacord, rather than electrical blasting caps, was used to detonate the small blasting charges.
Then came the disposal of the blasted debris, which also raised environmental concerns. Eventually acceptable sites were located and approved in old borrow pits that would not pollute either the river or the groundwater.
A new bridge to be built over the Saranac River in 2003 will consist of 11 3.5-ft. (1 m) deep, precast prestressed concrete box beams. The bridge will be 103.32 ft. (31.5 m) long. Luck’s new Link-Belt HTT-8660 also will play an important role in its replacement process.