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OR Fixing Bad Bridge Pours

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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"There was a problem" on a $307 million bridge project in Oregon, but chunks of concrete are not falling off the span's brand-new column, officials say.

Rather, contractors are chipping off portions of a bad concrete pour to make repairs on the Sellwood Bridge over the Willamette River, Multnomah County officials explained.

Bad pours have affected several bridge projects statewide and are now being repaired, officials say.

After several news outlets reported that chunks of concrete had fallen off a new column for the bridge, county officials set the record straight.

Willamette River bridges
sundt.com

Contractors are chipping concrete left by a bad pour on a new Sellwood Bridge column.

The Sellwood Bridge project is an ongoing effort by the county to replace the 88-year-old, 2,000-foot-long structure.

Expected to open to traffic in January 2016, the new bridge will be a steel deck arch structure, with three arches supporting the deck of the main river spans.

Setting the Record Straight

"The voids in the column are areas where the contractor intentionally removed concrete that did not consolidate (mix well) during the pour," transportation officials explained on the project's website.

According to Oregonlive.com, the county first explained that pouring the wet concrete mix had left air pockets.

The voids resulted from concrete ingredients that didn't mix properly, and the air pockets were then chipped out by the contractors, county spokesman Mike Pullen told the newspaper.

"There was a problem, nobody denies that, but it's not as if they took off the form (mold) and concrete fell off or there was a big void," Pullen said.

Once the bad concrete is removed, the voids will be filled with a grout "that is stronger and more durable than the original concrete," the county said.

Schedule Unaffected

Officials say missing concrete is not uncommon when tall forms are poured, as the concrete doesn't completely settle, KOIN.com reported.

Sellwood Bridge
Sellwoodbridge.org

The Sellwood Bridge project is replacing the 88-year-old, 2,000-foot-long structure.

"Similar concrete repairs have been performed on other bridge projects around the state, following a state specification. The county and the contractor have taken steps to improve the quality of concrete pours on the project," the project's website explained.

According to officials, the repair work is the contractor's responsibility and "does not affect the project's cost, schedule or quality."

Two companies serve as general contractor: Sundt Construction and Slayden Construction Group.

Once the column surface is finished and stained, the repair won't be visible, the county said.

Because more concrete work will be needed on the bridge, project managers created a checklist for future pours, Pullen said.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Concrete; Concrete defects; Contractors; North America; Program/Project Management

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