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Opening of Bridge Across Mississippi River Set for 2009

Wed January 18, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle



It will be another four years before traffic can travel across the $113-million Greenville Bridge over the Mississippi River, but signs of construction progress are everywhere.

“This is the largest single construction project ever let in the state of Mississippi. It is very significant to note that the designer of this bridge and the existing bridge upstream are the same — HNTB,” said Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) District Engineer Walter Lyons.

He added, “It is even more significant that the builder of both bridges is the same —┬áMassman Construction Company. Having two companies involved in the bridge design and construction 60 years apart is most remarkable and comforting.”

MDOT officials have determined the aging bridge is too narrow for today’s traffic demands. Plus, it ranks as the most struck bridge by barge traffic along the Mississippi River.

Among the construction milestones in 2005 were the construction of bow-tie struts on the towers atop piers 37 and 38 and the appearance of the superstructure and stay cables.

The new span will eventually connect to the new U.S. 82 Greenville bypass.

The project is a joint venture between Massman/Traylor. HNTB is a consultant firm that MDOT hired to do the inspection. The subcontractors are Hartman-Walsh Painting Company in St. Louis, MO; Tarrasco Steel Company in Greenville, MS; and Haines Electric Company Inc. of Memphis, TN.

“HNTB is overseeing the construction inspection of the main river spans for MDOT, and will also oversee the Arkansas approach. MDOT District 3 personnel are conducting the construction inspection for the Mississippi approach,” Lyons said.

When complete, Lyons said, the Greenville Bridge will have the second longest cable stayed main span in the U.S. at 1,378 ft. (420 m). That honor will remain with the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, SC at 1,545 ft. (470 m).

Carrie Adams, a spokeswoman of MDOT, said the main span of the bridge is scheduled to be open in the spring of 2006.

“The completion date for the Arkansas approach is November 2008. Therefore, the bridge will not open until 2009,” she said.

Originally, the bridge was to have been completed in 2006, but various delays have hampered construction. The existing bridge will be removed when the new bridge is completed.

The project has approximately 110 people on the payroll, including office personnel. Subcontractors add another eight people. Work hours are usually 10 hour days Monday to Friday and eight hours on Saturday.

“All the above information is variable depending on the need,” Adams said.

Cranes are among the major equipment being used in construction.

They include Manitowoc 4100s and 999s, one 200-ton Stiff-Leg derrick crane and two Favco tower cranes.

“The joint venture will enjoy the satisfaction of having built this massive, landmark project being the longest cable stayed bridge on the Mississippi River and the second longest in the United States,” said Dennis Brasfield, project engineer, Massman/Traylor.

Mike Caulfield, assistant project engineer, HNTB Corporation, said when the existing Greenville Bridge opened to traffic in 1940 that it was “a notable, sleek, record setting span over the Mississippi River. HNTB takes tremendous pride in having designed that beautiful state-of-the-art structure in the late 1930s and then, 60 years later, being selected by the MDOT to design its replacement with an equally stunning structure by today’s standards that will meet the modern transportation needs of the area.”

The new bridge will have 2.5 mi. (4 km) of bridge deck, two concrete towers soaring 425 ft. (130 m) above the Mississippi River, concrete piers anchored 120 ft. (36 m) into the riverbed and four fans of prestressed strand steel cable. Its main span will be 1,378 ft. (420 m).

Other features are:

• three spans of 591; 1,378; and 591 ft. (180, 420 and 180 m)

• Mississippi approach to the bridge includes 2,970 ft. (905 m) of new roadway and 6,406 ft. (1,952 m) of approach bridge

• Arkansas approach to the bridge includes 3,752 ft. (1,143 m) of roadway and 4,602 ft. (1,402 m) of approach bridge

• total length of the project (bridge, approaches and new roadway) is 20,290 ft. (6,182 m)

• new bridge will be located approximately 2,800 ft. (850 m) downstream from the existing bridge, greatly decreasing the likelihood of barge collisions

• new bridge will carry four lanes of traffic, each of which will be 12 ft. wide

For more information, visit www.greenvillebridge.com. CEG