Optimizing Efficiency on the Niles Bridge Project


The schedule was tight. In March 2019, the Michigan Department of Transportation awarded Atsalis Brothers a $1.5 million contract for work on the Niles Bridge on US-12 over the St. Joseph River in Niles, Michigan. The 480-foot-long, 100-foot-wide structure needed an epoxy overlay, full paint, structural steel repair, replacement of pins and hangers, joint replacement and repairs, and pier repair. The contractor began work in late July, with the goal of completing much of it by mid-November, ahead of deadline. 

“We were able to expedite our work on the Niles Bridge because of our skilled workforce and an access solution from BrandSafway, which combined the company’s QuikDeck with QuikShield systems,” said Nick Atsalakis, Vice President of Atsalis Brothers. QuikShield is a flexible platform supported by steel cables that, when deployed in combination with the QuikDeck Suspended Access System, can help lower costs on projects with longer spans, according to the manufacturer.

The Niles Bridge has four concrete piers, dividing the bridge into five sections. For access to the main bridge span, located between piers two and three, a total of 135 sections of QuikDeck were used. The strategy for the Niles Bridge called for using the system at each abutment and around every pier. This provided a solid platform from which work crews could erect QuikShield, as well as a tie-in point for QuikShield at the piers.

QuikDeck was combined with QuikShield to provide safer, more cost-effective access on the Niles Bridge. PHOTOS COURTESY OF brand safway

How the System Works

A standard QuikDeck platform section measures 8 x 8 feet (although triangles and smaller sections are also available). Steel trusses pin to connection points on central nodes and then swing out to form a square. After erecting a starter platform, workers can build out future sections without additional support locations. The system can support loads from 25 to 75 pounds per square feet.

The QuikShield system used on the Niles Bridge consists of 2 x 8-foot plywood decking riveted to a galvanized steel frame. It can support up to 25 pounds per square foot.

Longtime Collaboration

Founded in 1951 by Speros Atsalakis, Atsalis Brothers offers almost seven decades of experience in surface preparation, painting and coatings, environmental abatement and work access/platform rigging. The contractor’s relationship with BrandSafway extends back to the early 1990s.

“We do a lot of bridge work, and we like taking on difficult jobs because we have a really experienced crew,” said Atsalakis. “BrandSafway always has a lot of good ideas, so we throw things back and forth to develop solutions.”

QuikDeck® and QuikShield® are registered trademarks of Brand Safway.
Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors.





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