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Upstate NY’s Nine Mile Creek Bridge Replaces 1921 Edition

Wed February 13, 2002 - Northeast Edition
Mary Gelling Merritt


A troubled bridge over water flowing through Onondaga County in Upstate New York is now carefree due to a $1.55- million reconstruction project. The work to replace the Route 174 bridge over Nine Mile Creek in the Town of Marcellus is nearly complete.

“It was like building a bridge on a postage stamp,” said Ray Saville, the New York State engineer in charge of the project. The bridge is located in a tight spot in a gorge where the creek takes a severe turn. Saville’s job is to oversee all the work performed by the contractor, Slate Hill Constructors of Warners, NY, as well as many subcontractors and utility workers. Saville said the new span replaces the original bridge which was built in 1921.

Saville said in order to replace the old bridge, a temporary structure was needed to detour traffic. The temporary bridge was manufactured by the Mabey Company and arrived on flatbed trucks to be assembled at the site. Concrete abutments were first put in place. Then a 450-ton (405 t) crane, provided by JPW Crane Service, lifted the bridge pieces onto the concrete abutments.

Once the bridge approaches were paved, a temporary traffic signal was installed to control the flow of single-lane traffic over the temporary bridge. The traffic light also had a push button control, which would turn the traffic signal red in both directions so a family living near the construction project would have safe egress from their driveway during the project. With the temporary detour in place, the focus of the project switched from construction to demolition of the old span.

Saville said demolition of the old span was accomplished with track hoes and hoe rams. “All of the superstructure and a small part of the bridge’s substructure were removed,” he said.

The next step was to install footings for the wing walls near the creek bottom. The footings were designed to also provide support for the creek’s steep embankment. Once all the concrete was poured in the wing walls and abutments, the precast bridge parts were lifted into place. Once again, the 450-ton (405 t) crane was called in to lift the nine 44.6 ft. (13.6 m) long and 4.5 ft. (1.4 m) wide pre-cast bridge units and install them side-by-side to form the bridge.

“It took a great deal of preparation [to move the pre-cast bridge parts] but it did not take long to install the nine units,” Saville explained. He said the work was completed in one day.

Once the bridge units were in place, concrete was poured into the bridge’s closure pores then a waterproofing membrane was applied before the first layer of asphalt concrete was laid. Saville said all that remains to be done is the application of the top course of asphalt concrete, re-striping of the road surface and some guardrail installations.

During the project, it was determined the driveway of the home near the bridge was a hazard. As a result, New York State has purchased the property from the family and is blocking access to the property with guardrails.

Saville said the house is scheduled to be demolished in early February after asbestos at the site is properly removed.




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