Groundbreaking for the long awaited permanent span was carried out by children wearing appropriately sized orange safety vests and hard hats and using miniature backhoes to scoop up the first dirt.
It’s not every day the same event features children working miniature construction equipment and a congressman being presented with the key to a city.
However, both took place at a groundbreaking ceremony on May 1 in St George, Utah, four years after a devastating flood on the Santa Clara River destroyed not only the Valley View bridge connecting the southern part of St George to its northern section, but also washed away twenty houses and caused a total of $200 million in damages.
Groundbreaking for the long awaited permanent span was carried out by children wearing appropriately sized orange safety vests and hard hats and using miniature backhoes to scoop up the first dirt. The child-sized equipment and reflective vests were provided by a local toy store. The children’s parents are employed by prime contractor Wadsworth Brothers Construction Company Inc., and its subcontractors.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by John Njord, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Guy Wadsworth, president of Wadsworth Brothers Construction, Congressman Jim Matheson, who represents the 2nd Congressional District of Utah, and Daniel D. McArthur, mayor of St George.
“The Valley View Bridge has been on the state’s bridge replacement list for some time,” Mayor McArthur noted. “This was the worst disaster financial-wise in our history, where we lost a bunch of homes and property.”
“Our staff and elected officials knew that if we went ahead and designed the replacement bridge, then when the funds were available we would be ready to move forward,” he added.
This ultimately proved to be the case.
During the groundbreaking ceremony Mayor McArthur presented Congressman Matheson with a key to the city.
“He’s been one of the people that has helped secure federal funding to help in the flood damage repair and other projects in the area,” McArthur explained. “The presentation lets our elected officials know that we are grateful for their help and that we thank them and recognize the good they do for us.”
Although a temporary structure erected across six box culverts was built after the flood, it created a bottleneck in that this span provides only two lanes for traffic with no provisions for pedestrians. The new 220 ft. (67 m) long bridge will feature five traffic lanes, trail and bike paths, decorative lighting, and a pedestrian sidewalk. The scheduled completion date is May 2010.
As noted above Wadsworth Brothers Construction Company Inc., headquartered in Draper, Utah, is prime contractor for the $6.02 million job.
The bridge replacement is financed by $3.8 million from a total of $158 million in federal stimulus funds UDOT received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The remaining $2.4 million needed for the project will be supplied in a 50/50 split between St George and the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization (Dixie MPO).
Dixie MPO is a state agency named after Washington County’s nickname of Utah’s Dixie, recalling an unsuccessful attempt to establish cotton farming during the Civil War when it was not available to the northern states. The Dixie MPO is participating in the St George project as part of its responsibility for planning urban transportation there and in other areas.
“The project is scheduled to start June 30th beginning with utility work now required to relocate utilities that interfere with the new caisson locations for the structure. Upon completion of the utility relocate Wadsworth Brothers Construction will begin construction of the first phase of the bridge and roadwork available on the upstream side of the project,” said Mike Davies, project manager at Wadsworth Brothers Construction.
“Between our subcontractors and Wadsworth Brothers Construction we should average close to 25 employees working on the project. Our equipment fleet includes a Komatsu 220 trackhoe and an 883 LeBer oscillator trackhoe, as well as a Demag roller, a 140 ton P&H lattice boom crane, and a 40 ton Grove hydraullic crane. We also have a John Deere 310 backhoe, a Sky Track 900 forklift, and a 380 Komatsu loader at work, in addition to leased dump trucks and asphalt lay-down machines,” Davies said.
Subcontractors include St George-based Red Canyon Contractors Inc., which is carrying out pipe and roadway work. Becho, Inc., (caisson), D G & S Construction, Inc., (rebar), and the Western Fence Company Inc., all based in Salt Lake City, also are at work on the job, while Western Paving Company, Inc., of Fresno, Calif., is asphalt subcontractor.
“An unusual aspect of the job is that the project is located in a residential area that will require unconventional methods to complete work in time constraints not usually encountered,” Davies noted. “Since the bridge is located over the unpredictable flows of the Santa Clara River precautionary measures and scheduling constraints need to be considered during the sub-structure phases of the project.”
Founded in 1991, Wadsworth Brothers Construction Company Inc., had been involved in a number of notable bridge projects. Among them are:
• The Eccles Legacy Pedestrian Bridge at the University of Utah, the only cable-stay bridge in the state
• The Hurricane Arch Bridge spanning the Virgin River near Hurricane, Utah
• The Lego Bridges Project on I-215 in Salt Lake City, where the company replaced existing bridge decks in phases with precast component deck elements, and
• The Atkinville Interchange/Southern Parkway Roadway to the new airport that includes 4 box culverts, a SPUI, 2 frontage road structures, 2 river road structures, and 7 miles of 2 lanes in both directions, complete with signing and new asphalt pavement. It is the largest and most successful to date CM/GC in Southern Utah.
The company recently began work on a $38.5 million concrete segment bridge over the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. This will be the first concrete segmental bridge to be constructed in the state and will take approximately 20 months to build. It will accommodate traffic from U.S. Highway 191.
In 2006 Wadsworth Brothers Construction won four consecutive Best Commercial Contractor awards from the Utah Best of State organization, the Associated General Contractors’ Transportation Project of the Year for I-215 Redwood Road to 4700 South. CEG