The Lewis and Clark County Road and Bridge Department has successfully installed two new bridges on Elk Creek Road outside of Augusta.
Watch video: https://youtu.be/LsTcPCgro6s
Below is the story of how it was done, as told by Kevin Horne, our Public Works Operations Manager.
We originally had a subcontractor working on bridge #5 this month. The week of December 7, our staff started brainstorming an idea about trying to get bridge #6 installed as well. At first, it seemed wishful thinking considering it was the middle of December. We put pen to paper, looked at an 8-day weather window we had, and it seemed doable. Here’s our story and the daily sequence of operations:
Day 1: Monday, December 14
Our staff was busy mobilizing the big yellow iron up Elk Creek. Dump trucks started hauling the 440 tons of rip rap upstream to bridge #6. We had to stockpile on the downstream side. The old bridge was restricted so our loaded trucks could not cross it. Rip rap was shuttled across the bridge with smaller machines.
Day 2: Tuesday, December 15
We finished staging our material on the upstream side of the bridge knowing once it was removed, we would have no access to that side. We did a lot of checks and balances on what was needed before demolition. Rip rap, pit run, fabric, abutments and needed equipment were all essential to put on that side before demo could begin.
Day 3: Wednesday, December 16
This was the day we made the decision to go for it. Demolition of the old bridge and new bridge excavation began. Fabric and rip rap started getting placed that afternoon.
Day 4: Thursday, December 17
We finished placing the rip rap bank protection and installed the new bridge abutments: two per side, each weighing around 18000 pounds each. By Thursday night we were ready to bring up the bridges.
Day 5: Friday, December 18
R&R Heavy Haul mobilized our three bridge sections from bridge #5 to bridge #6.
Day 6: Saturday, December 19
Our crew set bridge #6. We also removed the temporary bridge at #5 so the contractor could place it on the new abutments. By the end of Saturday, both bridges were in their final places.
Day 7: Sunday, December 20
The contractor worked on #5 welding and bolting it together.
Day 8: Monday, December 21
Two crews backfilled both bridges and installed pit run because the new bridges are much higher.
Day 9: Tuesday, December 22
Both bridges are now passible and we started cleanup.
Day 10: Wednesday, December 23
Final clean up and de-mobbing equipment home.
Kevin continues, “I can’t say enough about the performance of our staff from top to bottom. I have been involved in some pretty cool MDT bridge projects, but never in my career have I seen the dedication, commitment and execution to get a bridge removed and replaced in six days. What started as wishful thinking soon became reality. Our crews worked daylight to dark and traveled both ways in the dark. I am proud to report with all these major operations going on at one time, we did it safely, accident/incident free. That’s the most important part.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the team that helped make this a huge success. For starters our Public Works Director Eric Griffin. We appreciate his support and believing in his team that we could get this accomplished, and most of all, letting us go for it. Our deputy director and admin staff, Audra, Jade and Keeley, kept us informed on the financial end and cost tracking. Our engineer, Dan, worked flawlessly with our consultants and subcontractor on design, bidding, notice to proceed and a lot of the project layout and coordination. He got this project on the fast track for us. Our boots on the ground folks executed our paper plan to a tee. Under the leadership and direction of our Bridge Manager, Clay, it was like poetry in motion. Special thanks to Larry, our Road Manager for the additional personnel and equipment. Also, many thanks to Dustin for shop support throughout the whole process, for needed repairs and welding on-site. This was a collaborative effort. Lewis from Augusta and Doug from Wolf Creek played a big part in the final grading. I would like to thank my team of skilled operators for a job well done. I very proud to be part of such a great team of talented individuals.”