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Unique Bridge Job Over Erie Canal Nears Finish

Tue November 01, 2005 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero



A unique bridge reconstruction project is heading toward an end-of-the-year completion date in Syracuse, NY. Funded by New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the federal government, the $22-million job began in November 2002.

The contract was awarded to Cianbro, of Pittsfield, ME, and involves the removal and dismantling of the 300-ft. (91.4 m) two-lane truss Belgium bridge. This bridge was then refurbished and re-erected at another site, Jack’s Reef, 15 mi. away to replace the one-lane Plainville bridge over the Erie Canal. At the site of the original Belgium bridge, a new five-lane bridge is under construction.

According to Cianbro’s Project Superintendent Brian Hartness, the project will be completed by the contract date of Dec. 31, 2005. He noted that several issues have been addressed with this project.

“One of them is that we’re working over the Seneca River, which is the Erie Canal,” he said. “We’ve been working very closely with the Coast Guard and the boating traffic and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Another one is that the project is adjacent to a Native American burial site, which gets the historical preservation society involved in monitoring all work to make sure that there is no violation of this protected site. The bridge actually spans a portion of it.”

Hartness reported that approximately 16,000 vehicles a day flow through the construction site, and Cianbro is maintaining two lanes of traffic at all times while constructing five lanes.

An average of 15 to 25 workers are on site each day. Major subcontractors include CCI Construction, Canastota, NY, as the primary earth contractor doing all dirt work and reconstruction of all approaches to the project on both sides, and its sister company, CFR Paving, Canastota, completing all blacktop.

“Approximately 25 subcontractors are involved with the project from landscaping to electrical to line striping and signs,” Hartness said. “It’s a pretty extensive list.”

Cranes are a major part of the equipment list for this job.

“At times, we’ve had six crawler cranes, ranging in capacities from 65 tons to 250 tons, and these cranes were used for everything from driving copper cells and pile to steel erection,” Hartness noted. “There are also several barges on the project that the cranes were mounted on. They ranged in size from 140 by 40 feet to 100 by 70 feet.”

In addition, the crew utilizes five aerial lifts ranging in size from 40 to 80 ft. (12.2 to 24.4 m). An abundance of earthwork equipment is on the subcontractor list as well, including excavators, loaders and dump trucks. CEG