LaBella's Strategic Plan Guarantees Smooth and Quick Replacement of Damaged Thruway Bridge
LaBella Associates was selected by Contour Steel, Inc. to develop the removal and replacement of a section of a damaged bridge on the New York State (NYS) Thruway in Buffalo, New York. LaBella worked closely with Contour Steel and UCC as well as the project designer CHA to develop a plan that would allow Contour Steel and UCC to perform the work to remove the damaged portion of the bridge and install the replacement section within one night, minimally impacting traffic to the NYS Thruway.
Our team was responsible for creating this plan, which specifically outlined the procedure to remove the damaged portion of the bridge and install the replacement section. This work included determining the weight of the pieces to be removed and erected, the positioning of the crane for safe operation, and the rigging required to perform the lifts along with an evaluation of the mid-level bridge, which was used to carry off the damaged section of the bridge.
Work on the project site began at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 18th with the closure of the two ramp bridges of the Exit 53 interchange. Once the ramp bridges were closed, UCC crews began milling the asphalt wearing surface and sawcutting the bridge deck. Ironworkers from Contour Steel began removing the steel railing from the deck, temporary shoring, and steel framing between the section of the bridge to be removed and what was to remain.
At 10:00 p.m., the westbound Thruway was closed, and mobilization of the 600-ton hydraulic crane began. The setup process for this crane typically takes approximately four hours. The completion of the crane setup coincided with the completion of preparing the removal of the damaged section of the bridge, which occurred at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. November 19th. At approximately 2:45 a.m., the damaged portion of the bridge—weighing in at approximately 108 tons—was set upon two heavy-haul trailer trucks and driven off the bridge for demolition.
With the damaged portion of the bridge removed, the replacement section—weighting in at approximately 95 tons—was rigged to be lifted into place. The lift began around 3:15 a.m., and after some minor adjustments, the replacement section was set into its final position by 4:15 a.m. Next, Contour Steel and UCC began installing hardware to join the replacement section to the remaining section of the bridge. The Thruway mainline was then cleared of the 600-ton hydraulic crane and opened to traffic by 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The mid-level ramp remained closed until 1:35 p.m. on Sunday, November 20th, while the upper-level bridge was reopened at 3:00 p.m. following paving and cleanup of the project site.
Check out a time-lapse video of this project below!
A damaged portion of the bridge is removed and a replacement section is installed within one night, minimally impacting traffic to the NYS Thruway in Buffalo, NY.