Structurally Deficient East Pittsburgh Span on the Mend

Fri July 31, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed

Brayman Construction Corporation crews work to remove the Tri-Boro bridge girders.
Brayman Construction Corporation crews work to remove the Tri-Boro bridge girders.



Late February saw the start of work on a $14 million project rehabilitating the bridge connecting the Tri-Boro Expressway (Route 2083) to Braddock Avenue in East Pittsburgh Borough, Pa.

On average, the bridge carries more than 8,000 vehicles, daily. It is one of more than 400 bridges the Commonwealth has identified as structurally deficient, and therefore due for urgent measures to be carried out under the Rebuild Pennsylvania program introduced by Gov. Ed Rendell.

Prime contractor for the project is the Brayman Construction Corporation Inc., located in Saxonburg, Pa.

The curved 11-span steel girder bridge was erected in 1974. Approximately 1,192 ft. (363 m) long, it passes over two active railroads and a small road. In addition, the bridge itself is situated under a bridge carrying Route 30.

“Work on the project involves a total rehabilitation on the entire bridge, which required removing the deck slab over the entire bridge, both north and south bound,” said Brayman project manager Jeff Anderson.

“Following that we removed five spans of girders to enable us to remove the substructure on the south end of the bridge. We demolished four piers and an abutment, removing the driven H-pile from the existing foundations, and then filling the voids with grout. Following that, we drove H-Pile in the proposed foundations of the piers and drilled and set 48-inch caissons in the abutment,” he added.

“On the north end of the bridge we removed and will replace with new, one span of girders as well as two box girder pier caps. Once the substructure is complete on the south end of the bridge we will place the girders that we removed on to new bearings. The existing girders will be cleaned and painted by Superior Painting Company. After the girders are placed on the south end and the repairs are made on the north end, we will set the bridge back down off of the temporary towers that Advantage Steel has erected, and we will begin to frame the deck and subsequently reinforce and pour the deck.

“The project is unusual,” Anderson added, “due to the limited access, with the rail lines underneath and the extensive foundation work being performed.”

Brayman Construction currently has 35 employees working on site, using a Caterpillar 330 and 315 excavators, a Komatsu loader, and a Grove 35T R/T crane, two Lima truck cranes, a Mait 160 Drill, and two 60-ft. (18.3 m) and an 80-ft. (24.4 m) JLG lifts.

Currently Advantage Steel of Saxonburg, Pa., (erection and de-erection) and Superior Painting, based in Allison Park, Pa., are on site, as well as Matcon Diamond of Pittsburgh, Pa., which is performing some saw cutting and concrete coring. Protection Services Incorporated (PSI), headquartered in East Pittsburgh, Pa., is maintaining traffic control.

It is anticipated that Brayman will self-perform roughly 80 percent of the work, with future subs to include Norwin Construction of Irwin, Pa., performing asphalt paving and Vantage Electrical, based in Carnegie, Pa., to perform the electrical work on the project.

The project has been funded by the Commonwealth and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and is on schedule for its estimated completion date of January 2010.

Founded as a family business in 1947 with a focus on single-span box culverts Brayman Construction Corporation Inc. is now a $125 million heavy and civil enterprise providing demolition, steel erection, marine, and geotechnical services to its clients. CEG