On July 18th, 2018 the Rev. Jon A. Sibley Sr. Underpass in Galesburg, IL opened to traffic, making commutes along the busy street faster and safer. Prestressed fascia beams, pier caps, and wingwalls manufactured by County Materials Corporation were vital and necessary components in constructing the bridge and meeting safety requirements. In addition, the custom designed and built precast components attributed to keeping the major BNSF Railroad junction open throughout construction.
Before construction of the underpass, residents of Galesburg were frequently left waiting on Main Street for trains on the busy BNSF Railroad to pass. In October 2016, construction began on an underpass and bridge system that would allow for traffic to drive under the railroad tracks. This was made possible by excavating underneath the railway, while piece by piece, bridge components were put into place to support the railway. During this phase of the project County Materials delivered 12 precast pier caps, with the largest weighing 49.5 tons. The custom pier caps required complicated, one-of-a-kind design and formwork. County Materials’ design team and manufacturing team at the company’s Salem, IL location overcame the challenges of this project because of the team’s experience with custom bridge and precast components. Each precast cap was made in 3 separate pieces, with a mitered joint between. The caps were skewed and had sleeves that had to be set to tight tolerances to accept field installed bearings.
The bridge support is made up of a combination of precast caps and steel I girders. Six prestressed fascia girders were supplied by County Materials to sit on the outside of the bridge in order to protect the steel I girders from collisions. The large concrete fascia girders provide a walkway on each side of the track for maintenance crews and are designed to withstand the impact of a vehicle that is too tall to travel under the bridge. The prestressed fascia girders hang down 4 inches below the steel girders to prevent any damage to the steel girders. The fascia girders were required because if a steel girder were to get damaged in a collision the railroad would need to shut down until repairs could be made. County Materials successfully delivered the girders 220 miles with the use of specialized trailers. The largest girders measure 97 feet long and weighed 92 tons.
County Materials did additional custom formwork casting the words “Welcome to Galesburg,” on the two center fascia girders, adding community pride to the bridge and welcoming visitors to downtown. County Materials worked with city officials in Galesburg to create the desired font and then custom built the letters into the forms.
The new underpass and bridge offer practical benefits for traffic, and also demonstrates the customization capabilities of County Materials.