Temporary I-85 bridge complete
N.C. Department of Transportation
The first step to replacing the narrow, aging Yadkin River bridge in Davidson and Rowan counties is now complete.
Crews have finished building a .5-mile temporary work bridge that runs between where the new I-85 North and South bridges will eventually stand. The temporary work bridge serves as the platform from which crews are using heavy equipment to build the new I-85 bridges.
“We’re excited to be one step closer to making the new I-85 bridges a reality for motorists,” said Pat Ivey, N.C. Department of Transportation Division 9 engineer. “The bridges will improve safety and help traffic flow more efficiently through this vital corridor for interstate commerce.”
Although it is temporary, the work bridge must still bear the weight of six 230-ton cranes and other heavy bridge construction materials. To ensure it will stand strong, crews anchored the steel beams that support it into the rock bed and created special reinforced paths on the bridge where the cranes must drive. In all, the temporary work bridge can support approximately 2,000 tons, which is the equivalent of 1,000 SUVs.
Off the main portion of the temporary work bridge, which extends straight across the Yadkin River from bank to bank, are finger-like platforms. Measuring 75 feet long, they form T-shaped right angles with the main bridge. The “fingers” allow crews to better position the cranes needed to dig the 40- to 80-feet deep holes for the I-85 bridges’ underground support columns and the equipment used to fill the holes with concrete. At this time, crews have dug and filled 64 of 150 columns.
Once a row of columns is complete, crews remove the finger closest to the Rowan County side of the river where the column construction started and reinstall it further down the temporary work bridge. In essence, the first finger becomes the last finger. This repetitive process not only saves time and money, but it is also more environmentally friendly. Crews will continue reusing all 18 fingers until they reach the Davidson County banks of the Yadkin River.
Crews are working 24 hours a day, six days a week on the I-85 bridges to ensure they are complete and ready to carry traffic by the end of 2012. At that time, they will remove the temporary work bridge. The contractor, Flatiron-Lane Joint Venture, will move it to its next job to help build more bridges.
This work is part of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project, which includes widening a total of 6.1 miles of I-85 from four lanes to eight lanes, replacing eight bridges and reconstructing the Belmont Road and U.S. 29/70/N.C. 150 interchanges. The project is scheduled to be complete by May 2013. For more information, visit www.i-85yadkinriver.com.