UDOT bridges on U.S. 191 over the Colorado River in Utah have received an award for excellence.
When it came to replacing an old bridge with two new bridges across the Colorado River, the beautiful landscape near Moab called for a environmentally sensitive approach to design and construction. And, great team work also helped move the project forward to completion.
“The arched design was intended to blend in with the surrounding scenery and enhance rather than intrude upon the Red Rock Canyon Country experience of visitors” says says Jim Chandler, UDOT Region Four Resident Engineer for the project.
And, the construction method was unique. “These bridges are the first to be built in Utah using balanced cantilever construction which required a smaller less, intrusive footprint on the environment,” says Chandler. While the old bridge required seven piers, the new bridges only needed two piers on each bridge. The smaller footprint reduced the impact on the river flood plain and on Threatened and Endangered Species in the area.
The bridges took nearly two years to complete. Because the construction method was new to Utah, “the schedule from day one was a challenge,” says UDOT Project Manager Rustin Anderson. Early on, issues with the drilled shafts used in the construction of the massive piers required special equipment to be brought in, putting the team behind schedule.
Project team members worked together and “found ways and innovations to get back on track,” says Anderson. Eventually the bridges were built on time.
The American Concrete Institute has presented an Excellence in Concrete Construction Award to the team for the “innovative and excellent use of concrete.”
The design and construction team:
UDOT is the project owner. Figg Engineering of Denver Colorado provided design and construction management and inspection services. Wadsworth Brothers Construction was the prime contractor.
Bridge facts: The center span of the bridges arch 438 feet between the piers, and the end spans are 292 feet from the piers to the river banks. Over 14,000 cubic yards of concrete and over 3,000,000 pounds of steel was used.
See construction images: An on-site camera provided a view of the construction progress. Still images and a time-lapse are still available online.
About cantilever construction: In this video, UDOT Public Involvement Manager Kevin Kitchen explains the construction method.