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Superior Construction Works on Rebuild of University Boulevard Span

Tue January 20, 2015 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero


Gene Howard, project manager.
Gene Howard, project manager.
Gene Howard, project manager. Superior Construction of Jacksonville, Fla., is currently working on a rebuild of the University Boulevard Bridge over the Arlington River in Jacksonville. The operator of this Kobelco CK1600G from Mobro Marine removes a section of the old bridge. Plans are to widen the spans.

Superior Construction of Jacksonville, Fla., is currently working on a rebuild of the University Boulevard Bridge over the Arlington River in Jacksonville.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contract is for $11.3 million, and the design-build project will take about a year and a half to complete. Gene Howard is the project manager, and Rick Hamilton is the superintendent.

“The existing bridge is due to be replaced, and we’re going to demolish the existing structure and replace it with a new structure,” Howard said. “We’re in a tight area next to existing homes, in some pretty nice neighborhoods, and when the design first came out, if the bridge had to be replaced, the neighborhood people wanted it replaced in the same spot, and pretty much sitting just like it does now. They didn’t want to change the alignment. So what we’ve done first is set up a 1,000 ft. long ACROW bridge for traffic to use temporarily The DOT owns the ACROW bridges. They supply the parts and we put them together. So we’ve got that installed, and now we’re moving over to the existing bridge.”

The new bridge will be made entirely of concrete like the old one, but with substantially bigger piling — 24 in. (60.9 cm) square pile.

“When we got the plans, they were maybe 60 percent complete, and we had to finish the design,” Howard said. “So we’ve had a lot of input on what’s going in here, and it’s been kind of fun. It’s going to be nice. We are changing the architectural design of the handrail a little bit. When it’s completed, it will be a nice looking bridge in this neighborhood, so people ought to be happy.”

Demolition will start from the north end of the bridge. As a section of bridge is removed, the pile is driven, the cap is poured and the beams are set. Then the process moves forward.

“It’s going to be a slow process,” Howard said. “We’ll have two operations going — there will be one crane on the old bridge at all times. We will use a Kobelco 1600 on the existing bridge for the pile driving and the pier casting and setting the beams, and then we’re going to follow with a Kobelco 80-ton doing the deck work —setting the form work and the rebar and the hand rail. It’s all cast in place concrete.”

Plans are to widen the spans. Currently the bridge has 35-ft. (10.6 m) spans, and the new ones will be 75 ft. (22.8 m). Pilings will be about 90 ft. (27.4 m) long.

Howard said they hope to have success with strapping and pulling the piles with a crane rather than using a vibratory extractor.

“We’ll use the existing bridge, and the trucks will pull behind us,” Howard said. “We’ll offload the piles, set them in the template and go. Coming out will be the same thing. We’ll pull them out, put them on the truck and haul them out of here.”

The crane for the job was supplied by Mobro Marine, a Kobelco dealer of Florida. Neil Corrado serves as the sales manager.