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Falsework Collapses at CA Bridge Site

Thursday, March 29, 2018

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A falsework collapse at a bridge construction site in California late last week led to wood beams—and, some say, more—falling into the river below.

According to the California Department of Transportation, high waters in the wake of storms Friday (March 23) washed out part of the wood falsework at the site of the State Highway 49 bridge project, officially known as the South Fork American River Bridge Replacement. Caltrans says repairs to the two damaged supports will continue through Saturday (March 31), and rafting below the bridge during that time is not advised.

Material Concerns

According to CBS Sacramento, some boaters in the area are concerned that more than just pieces of wood fell into the American River when the incident occurred. The owner of a nearby whitewater rafting service told the channel he believes metal rebar was washed away in the collapse, and he is concerned that inner-tubers could be injured.

Groundbreaking sign

The $22 million project will replace the current bridge over the South Fork of the American River with a new concrete box-girder bridge.

But Caltrans spokesperson Steve Nelson told the news channel only two pieces of wood are believed to have been lost in the collapse, but said the agency would be investigating more when the waters recede. Nelson said much of the material that could have washed away had been moved to a higher elevation in anticipation of the rising water.

About the Project

The $22 million South Fork American River Bridge Replacement, which began last April and is expected to wrap up in July, includes the construction of a new concrete box-girder bridge to replace the current SH-49 bridge, now 63 years old. The replacement is necessary, Caltrans says, in order to meet seismic standards and add standard shoulders and new sidewalks.

The box-girder design will also eliminate piers that stand in the water in the current structure, allowing greater mobility and enhanced safety for boaters. MCM Construction, of Sacramento, is the general contractor on the job. The California-based MCM is not affiliated with the Florida-based MCM associated with this month’s pedestrian-bridge collapse in Miami.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Caltrans; Construction; Contractors; Roads/Highways

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