The new Hastings bridge is on schedule to be finished by May 31, 2013Imagine a line of those blue concrete trucks stretching from the Highway 61 bridge in Hastings up Highway 61 for 3.25 miles. There would be 500 of them, stretching all the way from Hub’s Marina up to River Oaks Golf Course.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
Imagine a line of those blue concrete trucks stretching from the Highway 61 bridge in Hastings up Highway 61 for 3.25 miles. There would be 500 of them, stretching all the way from Hub’s Marina up to River Oaks Golf Course.
Those 500 trucks, holding 5,000 cubic yards of concrete, is what will be needed to build just six of the piers for the new Hastings bridge.
So far, though, all Hastings residents have seen in terms of bridge construction is rather limited. That will soon all be changing as work on the piers gets under way.
In fact, in just 20 months, residents can expect to be traveling on the new span, albeit in a limited fashion. By the end of May 2013, all four lanes of the bridge will be open.
Here’s an update on the project:
It seems an odd concept to many, but crews are designing the bridge as they are building it.
Essentially, even as workers are drilling into the ground for the bridge piers, the design of the bridge is still being worked out. The process is called design/build.
To speed up the project, Mn/DOT and the firms responsible for constructing the bridge are using the design/build process. Had the project been designed in full before construction began, the project would have been delayed by a year or more.
Now, engineers and designers are occupying an expansive office on Spiral Boulevard in Hastings, working all day long to come up with the plans.
The section of the bridge between piers 5 and 10 is about 90 percent designed, project manager Steve Kordosky said.
The section of the bridge between piers 1-4 hasn’t yet been designed and is less than 35 percent along in the process.
Piers one through four will be located at the foot of the bridge near downtown Hastings.
Pier five will be located where the Hudson Manufacturing Co. warehouse was just demolished, right at river’s edge.
Pier six will be located in the water and will be the main pier visible on the waterway.
Piers seven, eight, nine and 10 are located on the north side of the bridge.
The piers will all be supported by enormous footings well below the ground.
For pier five, for example, footings will be 30 feet underground. A total of eight 30- to 45-foot drilled shafts will extend from the footings and act as anchors.
Each shaft is 4.5-feet in diameter, and each is drilled 14-feet deep into the bedrock.
Building a bridge over roadways is one thing.
Building a bridge over a river is altogether different, as you can imagine.
So how do they pour concrete on the bottom of a fast-moving and deep river like the Mississippi?
The contractors will build what are called cofferdams. Work is already under way to build an enormous one for pier 6, the main pier in the river. Cofferdams for piers eight, nine and 10 are already in place.
A crane mounted on a barge is in place right now. Crews have dredged muck and material from the bottom of the river and hauled it to the staging area.
The base for the cofferdam will be poured, then a 90-foot by 30-foot rectangular box will be built up from the base. That box will be watertight and will allow crews to pour the footings.
When the water rose on the Mississippi River this fall (twice), it was quite a site for local residents.
It was also really bad news for Doyle Honstad of Lunda Construction.
The cofferdams that Honstad had ready for the project were enormous, no doubt. He knew what water levels were like here and how deep the river was, so he ordered the cofferdams with those numbers in mind.
All of a sudden, as he was getting ready to begin work to get those cofferdams in place, the water rose dramatically following a massive rainstorm in the state. All of a sudden, those cofferdams were not high enough to safely stay out of the water.
Shortly thereafter, water levels rose again, prompting another delay.
There was a six-week delay through all this.
Now, Honstad and his crew will be working feverishly to get all the footings poured this winter before water levels come back up this spring.
Concrete for the new bridge will be provided by Cemstone. Much of it, it is expected, will come from Cemstone’s plant in Hastings. It will be trucked in 10 cubic yards at a time. More than 500 cubic yards will be needed for piers five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10.
The Hudson move
The warehouse that was just demolished at Hudson was going to be rebuilt once the new bridge was in place. Now that an arm of the city owns the property and will redevelop it, that will no longer be the case and the warehouse will not need to be rebuilt.
Part of the original agreement with Hudson, too, required the contractors to always allow truck access for deliveries to Hudson. Again, that will no longer be a concern.
Hudson is expected to be moving out of its downtown location this spring. They are relocating to the former Intek Plastics building near Smead Manufacturing on 10th Street.
One of the features of the new bridge will be an anti-icing feature.
The pressurized system will be designed to automatically sense weather conditions that would lead to ice. It will react on its own, spraying environmentally friendly potassium acetate on the bridge deck through a network of small sprayers.
The cars traveling over the bridge then help disperse the chemical evenly across the entire deck.
The pumps and chemicals required to operate the system will be located in a small building on the northwest side of the new bridge.
Taking away the current bridge
When the Spiral Bridge was no longer in use, demolition crews simply dropped it into the Mississippi River. History will not repeat itself with the Highway 61 bridge.
Crews will begin dissembling the current bridge sometime in the summer of 2012, likely July or August.
It will be taken down in the reverse order that it was built. Crews will start on the driving surface and will cut the deck down into blocks. The blocks will be removed starting from the center of the span and working out. Once that is done, the crews will return to the center of the bridge and will disassemble the truss with cutting torches and cranes will pull away the pieces.
It will take approximately two to four months to take down the current bridge.
The last piece
By the summer of 2012, the new Hastings bridge will about 90 percent complete. The last piece of the puzzle can’t be built until the current bridge is gone.
So, by November of 2012, crews will get to work on that last piece. Their work will be done by May 2013, and all four lanes will be open.
Think of the new bridge as having two approaches: the southbound approach into Hastings and the northbound approach out of downtown Hastings.
The northbound approach will not be able to be built until the current bridge is gone. It will be in about the same spot.