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Scott Bridge Calls Specialist for Consultation on U.S. 31 Project

Wed January 10, 2001 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni

The Alabama Department of Transportation has awarded a $9.7-million contract to Scott Bridge Company Inc. for work on U.S. 31 in Montgomery, Elmore and Autauga counties. Work on the contract, which involves roadwork and relief bridge replacement over the Alabama River, began in May 1999. The construction on U.S. 31 extends two miles from milepost 185 to milepost 187, including the main bridge over the Alabama River, which spans 2,310 ft. (704 m).

The contract requires construction of a 400-ft. (121.9 m) relief bridge on the North side of the bridge that crosses the Alabama River. Since the area has a long flood plain, the relief bridge will allow water to travel under the bridge instead of over the highway. The relief bridge is a prestressed girder bridge with cast in place concrete deck.

While constructing the bridge, Scott Bridge Company will use specialized drill shaft equipment manufactured by Steven M. Hain Corporation of Garland, TX. According to Mike Terrell, vice president of Scott Bridge Company, the 12-ft. (3.7 m) diameter drill shafts are unusual and very large, which creates a challenge for the workers. Ten drill shafts are required for the relief bridge, six with a 12-ft. (3.7 m) diameter and four that are 8-ft. (2.4 m) diameter.

“It has been a pretty smooth job considering the size of the drill shafts,” stated James Kelley, acting division construction engineer for ALDOT’s sixth division.

The fact that much of the bridgework is being done in or near the river makes this job all the more complex. Several types of cranes are being used for the work, including 4000W and 4100 Manitowoc cranes and an American 9270 crane. Bridge approaches are built using a Link-belt LS138 crane and an American 7260 crane.

Scott Bridge Company is also creating dirt access roads on each end of the bridge. A Kobelco 220 excavator and a Komatsu D41 dozer will be used for earthmoving. Scott Bridge owns all equipment being used on the project.

Modernizing U.S. 31 and increasing safety on the road are ALDOT’s ultimate objectives. To achieve this, the out-of-date structures are being replaced.

“We are replacing the existing turn span bridge, built in the 1920s, that is functionally obsolete,” said Terrell.

This section of the highway has also been the site of many traffic accidents due to the narrow width of the existing bridge, which forces two lanes of traffic into one lane. The new bridge will solve this problem because it will accommodate vehicles traveling in both lanes.

Once this contract nears its completion date of March 2001, ALDOT will begin letting a second contract for further improvements. The next contract includes tearing out the old bridge and old roadway to make room for a new road, which will tie in the relief bridge and the river bridge.

Opelika, Alabama-based Scott Bridge Company offers services in bridge construction, rehabilitation, emergency response, piledriving, marine construction and steel erection. The company also specializes in rail, highway, marine and heavy construction. Employing approximately 200 people, the company works throughout the Southeast.

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