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WA Installs Record-Breaking Girders

Friday, January 15, 2021

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Slated to finish next week, the Washington Department of Transportation recently reported that it is installing record-breaking concrete girders at the new southbound Interstate 5 Puyallup River Bridge in Tacoma.

According to reports, the girders are the longest prestressed concrete girders made in North America, measuring 223 feet long, roughly nine feet high and weighing in at more than 246,000 pounds. To put the size of the girder into perspective, WSDOT asked readers to picture a blue whale and a 747 airplane—given that blue whales average 200,000 pounds and the total wingspan of a 747 is just under 200 feet.

The numbers are just about aligned with the 30 girders the Department is slated to install before the month is over.

Washington Department of Transportation

Slated to finish next week, the Washington Department of Transportation recently reported that they were installing record-breaking concrete girders at the new southbound Interstate 5 Puyallup River Bridge in Tacoma.

Construction crews from WSDOT’s contractor, Guy F. Atkinson Construction, began installing the girders on Jan. 4, moving the colossal girders from their home at the Concrete Technology Corporation to the southbound side of the new I-5 Puyallup River Bridge.

Once at the bridge site, two cranes are used to move the three to five girders into place. Once installed, the final set of girders—along with 54 others that were installed in February 2020—will form the backbone of the new bridge.

The installations have taken place overnight with the aim to keep drivers and workers safe and called for lane and ramp closures.

Girder installation is expected to wrap up by Jan. 20. However, installing girders of this size is weather dependent and comes with some unique concerns. For example, construction work must halt to accommodate railroad activity and can not continue through long periods of high wind.

Completing the installation of the girders will be a major step in the construction of the new southbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge. Following this portion of the project, crews intend to build the bridge deck and take the next step forward in paving the road.

“We have the L Street overpass that we still have to finish up, and we have the mainline road surface that has to be finished,” Cara Mitchell from the Washington State Department of Transportation said regarding additional project work. “Setting all that barrier up, and getting the striping in for HOV, and all the signage. There’s a lot of work that’s ahead of us, but 2021 is going to be busy, busy getting this project buttoned up.”

Guy F. Atkinson Construction hopes to have one or two lanes open for southbound travelers exiting to SR 167/Portland Avenue or coming from the Port of Tacoma Road sometime in the summer of 2021, while all lanes of the new bridge are tentatively scheduled to open this fall.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); DOT; Girder; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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