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Span Turns IDOT Into ’Quickchange’ Artists

Sat May 27, 2000 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Illinois drivers who use Peoria’s McClugage Bridge are becoming very familiar with the sights and sounds of construction work. For the past two months crews have been working on a $26-million project to rehabilitate the bridge.

For the rehabilitation project, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has closed the eastbound portion of this dual-span structure, and put the 42,500 vehicles that use the McClugage Bridge each day onto the westbound structure.

Midwest Foundation Corporation and Halverson Construction, a joint venture, based out of Tremont, IL, are removing and replacing the bridge deck and selected structural steel members on the 1,364-meter-long (4,500 ft.) bridge. Crews will also repair 25 concrete piers and replace bearings.

Workers have installed new floor beams and stringers on the first 152 meters (500 ft.) east of the navigation channel. The contractor is using floating barges as a causeway for access to the work.

The project employs 150 to 200 construction workers daily. The contractor is working two, 10-hour shifts, 6 days a week. The following materials will be used to complete the project by Nov. 1:

• 3,800 cubic meters (5,000 cu. yds.) of concrete

• 540,000 kilograms (1.2 million lbs.) of reinforcing steel

• 990,000 kilograms (2.2 million lbs.) of structural steel

• 17,500 gallons of paint

Quickchange Moveable Barrier

Crews are using the Quickchange Moveable Barrier System (QMB), manufactured by Barrier Systems Inc. Carson City, NV, to relocate the barrier wall. This reverses the center lane to accommodate westbound traffic during the morning rush hour and eastbound traffic during the afternoon rush hour. The QMB lifts and shifts the 1-meter-long (3 ft.)concrete barrier sections.

The QMB is made up of two parts: a series of safety-shaped concrete barriers hinged together to form a continuous wall, and a Transfer and Transport Vehicle (TTV) that moves the wall.

Conveyor type wheels lift the barrier by the “T” shape at the top of the barrier sections.

The machine is protected by the wall as motorists travel past it in both directions. The QMB travels at a speed of about 5 mph, and completes the lane reversal across the bridge in approximately 25 minutes.

This system has helped IDOT minimize the inconvenience to the motoring public and reduced traffic tie-ups.

Road Conditions

Message boards supply motorists with real-time delay information, and suggest alternate routes of traffic if there is a lengthy backup on the bridge.

The message boards have doppler radar speed detection equipment that records traffic speeds and relays that information back to a central computer. The computer analyzes the information from the message boards and sends real-time congestion information or pre-determined messages back to the boards. The system also automatically calls project personnel with an alert of extreme traffic congestion or a malfunction of the system.

A highway advisory radio (HAR) system is connected to the automated real-time system, and in case of extreme congestion, the message boards will direct motorists to tune to 1610 AM for information about the nature of the delay and suggested alternate routes.

(Charleen Boudreau is the construction supervising field engineer for this project for the Illinois Department of Transportation, District 4. She has worked on construction projects for IDOT since 1980.)

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