OK Crews Install Bridge in One Day


Last week (Sept. 18), construction crews in Bixby, Oklahoma, installed a new bridge to replace the White Church Creek Bridge, which had recently been closed due to failed inspections.

According to a report from KJRH, the bridge is a major passageway for school buses, emergency crews and residents. Since its closure, drivers had reportedly been dealing with major traffic, which began to get worse as school started back. 

Bridge Background

At the beginning of July, the Bixby City Council reportedly stated that engineers had suggested the permanent closure of the White Church Creek Bridge. 

Then, later that month, the city approved an emergency bridge replacement, though was awaiting a Nationwide 14 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the creek is a jurisdictional waterway.

In August, locals began to express their frustrations over traffic jams caused by the White Church Creek Bridge closure. Bixby resident, Linda Watson, stated that she and her neighbors didn’t understand why it was taking so long.

“I don't get that at all. This is not personal property, this is public. It's interfering with school, it's interfering with peoples jobs,” Watson told KJRH.

The area is reportedly rural enough to have two-way streets and four-way stops, though populated enough for the closure to have created traffic jams.The new school year had also reportedly increased these backups during drop-off and pickup hours.

On its website, the city stated that they would post a definitive construction schedule as soon as the permit was issued.

Latest Update

Approval for the bridge replacement reportedly came on Sept. 5, when the USACE issued the construction permit for the new structure. The four phases of the new project are expected to last from four to six weeks, from installation to clean-up. 

The replacement for the White Church Creek Bridge reportedly runs between Mingo and Garnett Roads and was constructed by Premier Steel. The bridge was reportedly transported from the company's headquarters to the site on the Sunday before construction began. Premier Steel calls the method a “Fast Cast Bridge.”

“We started in 2019 as an idea from a rancher friend of mine to build a bridge that would go in quickly,” said Andy Wanaman, Premier Steel President. “We obtained our patent last May and now we have done over 27 in multiple states.”

The new bridge, according to reports, is 34 by 38 feet and is expected to last decades. The city says this bridge will be “game changer,” as it could allow for more cost-effective installation and maintenance.

The work to install the bridge reportedly began early on the morning of Sept. 18. While installation would occur in a matter of hours, officials added that grading and clean-up would be complete a few days afterward.

According to Premier Steel’s description, the Fast Cast Bridge comes ready for installation. Components of the Fast Cast Bridge include a complete set of rigging and tools, while responsibilities for the users are providing the lifting equipment, concrete services and labor for the installation.

Other Offsite Bridge Installation

A year ago, the Michigan Department of Transportation utilized self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) to move a five-million-pound bridge that was constructed offsite into position. The new Second Avenue bridge is the first network tied arch bridge built by the state, and the second largest project of its kind in Michigan’s history.

While the bridge foundation and abutment walls were constructed along the freeway, the skeleton of the bridge itself were built offsite over two years in a parking lot at Wayne State University. According to MDOT, the simultaneous on- and offsite construction keeps workers and the public safe, as well as minimizing the need for numerous lane closures on I-94.

Moving the skeleton of the bridge across the freeway was done using SPMTs, which are multi-axled rolling platforms. The flat-bed SPMTs were reportedly supported by multiple axles that are each independently controlled to keep the bridge skeleton level as it travels, to prevent damage.

Using these four SPMTs linked together, an operator controlled each one with a digital control panel and walked alongside the bridge as it moved. Other workers accompanied the operator to act as lookouts.

According to reports, a temporary surface of steel plates was laid down to protect the road beneath. With every few feet of forward progress, the SPMT would come to a halt and then two front loaders picked up the plates that had just been passed over and moved them into position in front.

After moving from the parking lot to the abutments over I-94, another SPMT was used to lift the leading end of the span and move it across the freeway to the opposite abutments. The skeleton was then secured by jacking it down into place onto the new bridge supports.

After inspection, the reinforced steel and concrete decking are being installed. The concrete will be wet-cured for a minimum of seven days. Additionally, this fall a second stage of post-tensioning will be performed to secure the cables.


Tagged categories: Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC); Bridges; Bridges; Completed projects; Construction; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Inspection; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Steel; Technology

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.