Categories | Prestress Bridge Girders

Crews begin finishing stages of Birch Street Bridge

EAU CLAIRE , Wis. (Aug. 1, 2006) – The biggest pieces are in place, but the finishing touches could take a few months on the Birch Street Bridge on the east side of Eau Claire.

In late June, crews from Zenith Tech of Rothschild and County Materials of Eau Claire deftly maneuvered 24 of County Materials’ massive 72W concrete girders into place down highways and through residential areas – in the dark of night to disrupt as little as possible – while guiding the 160-foot beams into place.

The bridge includes 60 of the 72W girders (five spans of 12), which measure 72 inches high and – for this project – reach 156 feet, 10 inches. Each beam contains 42 six-tenths-inch steel strands. If laid end to end, the girders would reach nearly 2 miles, and the steel strands would extend more than 74 miles, or well into Minnesota.

While the bottom flange of the 72W measures 30 inches wide, the top flange is 4 feet, reducing the amount of needed decking material. Its rounded edges are one more step taken to streamline the girder’s design and reduce incidental damage.

County Materials’ delivery drivers had to follow a carefully plotted course that took them about 12 miles and an hour and a half to make what normally would be roughly a 3-mile trip. But it took such care to ensure the 160,000-pound beams arrived safely.

Crews from Zenith Tech laid three of the bridge’s five spans from the south bank of the Eau Claire River but had to approach the final two from the Birch Street side because of logistical reasons; positioning cranes and moving equipment just so.

As it happened, it took three cranes – each with a capacity between 150 and 200 tons – to “hand off” the girders from one to another as County Materials’ delivery truck backed into place up the access road.

County Materials operates 30 locations serving the Midwest. The family-owned, American company is an industry leader in the manufacture and distribution of concrete block, brick, stone, ready-mix, hollowcore, pipe, pavers, retaining walls and Aggregate Finish products for residential, commercial and municipal construction and landscaping.

For more information, call us at 1-800-289-2569 and ask for a product guide.

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