New reports highlight latest action needed at Champlain Bridge

The owner of Canada’s Champlain Bridge is adjusting its maintenance plans in the light of three new reports studying the condition of the deteriorating structure. Jacques Cartier & Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) has published the 2014 annual inspection report and two linear analyses of a typical Champlain Bridge girder. Canada’s busiest bridge is being replaced by a new crossing of the St Lawrence but meanwhile requires extensive maintenance. This year, JCCBI has planned US$97 million of work on the Champlain Bridge. Use of salt to de-ice the bridge over the course of its life is seen as one of the main factors that have contributed to its deterioration. Armed with the new data on the Champlain Bridge, the corporation is continuing a programme of exceptional measures to monitor the structure and ensure safe passage. These include design and installation of modular trusses to support the edge girders, instrumentation of all 100 edge girders to monitor the structure’s behavior in real time and the addition of carbon fibre reinforcement. A programme to repair piers, girders, slabs and deck joints will also continue. The structure’s condition had previously led JCCBI to increase the frequency of detailed inspections from once every four years to once a year. The latest annual inspection was carried out by Dessau Cima+ in autumn 2014. Once JCCBI received the preliminary inspection report, its engineering and planning teams analysed the findings and adjusted the major maintenance programme accordingly. “It’s critical for our Corporation to have access to a variety of tools to increase our knowledge of the structure, prioritise our actions, and deploy our resources efficiently and effectively,” said JCCBI CEO Glen Carlin. “User safety is central to all our actions. Based on these reports, we will make any necessary adjustments to our bridge reinforcement and maintenance programme, while continuing our analyses to better guide our actions.” The reports are available online at JCCBI.ca (link opens in new tab).

Alabama picks designer for Mobile River Bridge

Thompson Engineering has won the design contract for the new Mobile River Bridge in the US state of Alabama after beating two other shortlisted teams. The I-10 Mobile River Bridge & Bayway project has an estimated cost of US$850 million and involves building a six-lane bridge across the river and widening the existing I-10 bridges across Mobile Bay. Design teams from around the country had submitted letters of interest; Thompson Engineering, Michael Baker and Volkert were shortlisted last month (link opens in new tab). The final selection was made by a panel of Mobile area elected officials and community leaders who viewed presentations from the three final teams. The presentations included conceptual ideas for the project, but there will be variables that factor into the final design. “The panel selected a design team, not a design, for this project,” said mobile region engineer Vince Calametti. “We need the team to get the preliminary design under way so we can finish the Environmental Impact Statement. Thompson Engineering was chosen today because the selection panel liked their ideas and felt they were the best fit to design this project.” Alabama Department of Transportation has decided to fast-track the contract with Thompson Engineering. The fast-track contract will allow Thompson Engineering to start some of the work almost immediately while the full contract is being finalised.

Latest designs published in Nine Elms bridge competition

Updated proposals have been published in Wandsworth Council’s design competition for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Thames in London. Four teams of engineers and architects were shortlisted in March from 74 initial entries (link opens in new tab) and they have now submitted their latest design ideas (see below). Feedback from local exhibitions and online will be fed into the competition’s jury panel, which includes Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia, Lambeth councillor Joanne Simpson, architect Graham Stirk, engineer Henry Bardsley and  chair of  Cabe at the Design Council Pam Alexander. “We now have some very exciting and quite spectacular designs on the table,” said Govindia. “There is still a long way to go but these teams have given us real hope that a solution can be found to the complex challenges involved in creating a new pedestrian and cycle link across this stretch of the river.” Among the most difficult puzzles for the design teams to overcome is the bridge height which has to rise high above the banks so large vessels can pass beneath. This has to be done without creating too steep a slope for cyclists and pedestrians. The wining team will be named later this year. The shortlist is made up of entries from: (team 021) Buro Happold (lead) with Marks Barfield Architects, J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects, Gardiner and Theobald   (team 025) Bystrup Architecture Design & Engineering with Robin Snell & Partners, Sven Ole Hansen ApS, Aarsleff and ÅF Lighting   (team 047) Ove Arup & Partners (lead) with AL_A, Gross Max, Equals Consulting and Movement Strategies   (team 080) Ove Arup & Partners (lead) with Hopkins Architects and Grant Associates   Further images of the proposals can be seen on the competition website (link opens in new tab).

Procurement begins for US-Canada bridge

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) has begun the selection process to find a private sector partner to deliver a new bridge linking the USA and Canada. It is inviting requests for qualifications for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will link Windsor in Canada and Detroit in the USA. Two introductory project meetings – one in Windsor and one in Detroit – will be held for interested respondents in early August. Both meetings will be followed by an industry day to provide an opportunity for potential respondents to meet and network with local, regional and national contractors, suppliers and service providers. Respondents to the request for qualifications will be evaluated on their experience and qualifications to deliver and finance large and complex infrastructure projects. The request for proposals stage is due to begin late this year and the overall procurement process is expected to take up to 18 months.

Work begins on Vietnam’s Phuoc Khanh bridge

A groundbreaking ceremony has been held to mark the start of construction of the Phuoc Khanh Bridge in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The overall bridge is more than 3km long, including a cable-stayed section over the Long Tau River. It is being built as part of a major expressway, with funding contributions from the Asian Development Bank and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency. It will have vertical clearance of 55m – believed to be a record for Vietnam - to allow large ships to pass beneath. The bridge is being built by Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui and General Construction Company No 4 (Cienco 4) of Vietnam. Supervision will be carried out by joint venture consultant KEI-NE-OC-TEDI. Construction is due to take 32 months.

Glass-decked bridge nears completion in China

A 430m-long pedestrian bridge with a transparent glass deck is set to be completed this month high above a valley floor in China’s Hunan province. The 6m-wide bridge will cross 300m above the base of the canyon in the mountainous Zhangjiajie area, popular with visitors. The bridge has been designed by Haim Dotan. It also has a bungee platform mid span for the most daring of the visitors.

Croatia confirms plan to build Peljesac Bridge

The tender for the US$225 million Peljesac Bridge in Croatia is expected to issued towards the end of this year and construction could begin next spring. A feasibility study has concluded that the Peljesac Bridge is the best way to connect the southernmost part of Croatia with the rest of the country, the country’s prime minister said yesterday. Construction of the bridge will save people having to cross into Bosnia & Herzegovina to travel between Dubrovnik and the Peljesac peninsula. “Today we are totally right to say that the bridge will be built, that this will start very soon and that the procedure will be completed in the last quarter of this year," said prime minister Zoran Milanovic. He said that the bridge was selected by European Union (EU) authorities as the best among several options proposed. The bridge would be built between the mainland and the Peljesac peninsula to bypass the short stretch of coastline at Neum where Bosnia & Herzegovina has access to the Adriatic Sea. The feasibility study was carried out by the TFP consortium. "Our desire is to connect Croatia together so that in order to reach Dubrovnik people would not have to travel across the territory of a neighbouring and friendly country where a lot of Croats live, but another country nonetheless, which unfortunately will not become an EU member for a long time to come," said Milanovic. Croatia's minister of maritime affairs, transport and infrastructure Sinisa Hajdas Doncic said that a tender for its construction was expected to be issued in the last quarter of the year and that the construction would take between two and a half and three years. The cost of the bridge construction would be US$225 million and the cost of the entire project, including the construction of connecting roads, would be US$413 million. The government expects that the European Union will financially support the project with the maximum 85% and that construction will begin next spring at the earliest.

Work begins on cable-stayed bridge in Lima

The municipality of Lima in Peru has begun construction of a new cable-stayed bridge. The US$41 million Bella Union Bridge will have a single yellow-coloured inclined pylon and will carry six traffic lanes as well as making provision for cyclists and pedestrians. It replaces a bridge that collapsed in February 2013. A temporary Bailey bridge was installed shortly afterwards. Construction of the new cable-stayed crossing is expected to take 18 months.

All three towers of Downtown Crossing reach final heights

All three towers of the cable-stayed centrepiece of the US$1.266 billion Downtown Crossing in the USA are all now at their finished heights. A second milestone has also been achieved recently, with the Indiana approach now connected to the bridge deck at the nearest tower. The new bridge is being built with nine piers, four on land and five in the water. Three of the piers include tower supports, the tallest of which is at the centre and reaches 85m. The matching towers on the Kentucky and Indiana sides stand 70m tall. Contractor for the scheme is Walsh Construction. Downtown Crossing, which forms part of the Ohio River Bridges project, is expected to be open to two-way traffic by January. The Ohio River Bridges project also includes another major cable-stayed bridge, the US$1.058 billion East End Crossing.

Final pontoons positioned for SR 520 floating bridge

The longitudinal pontoons for the world’s longest floating bridge are all now in their final positions. Crews building the new SR 520 bridge on Lake Washington reached the milestone this week as they moved the bridge’s last three massive concrete pontoons into place. The pontoons form the structural spine of the bridge in the US state of Washington. Pontoons B, C and D were towed from an east-end moorage near Medina to their permanent location at the new bridge’s west end, near Seattle. Bolted together, the three pontoons gave the appearance of a giant barge – more than 305m long. Tall columns and a new roadway have already been built on top of the three pontoons, which together form most of the new floating bridge’s west high-rise section. “With the final three longitudinal pontoons now in their permanent location, you can actually see this great new bridge stretching end to end across the lake,” said Julie Meredith, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s administrator of the SR 520 bridge replacement and high-occupancy vehicle programme. “It’s an exciting day for everyone involved in the project.” Just one of the total 77 pontoons now needs to be positioned. Within a few weeks, crews will tow Pontoon A back into position and connect it to Pontoon B. Pontoon A is one of two 'cross' pontoons that bookend the new floating highway. In between are the bridge’s 21 longitudinal pontoons – each 11,000t and 110m long. Fifty-four smaller, supplemental pontoons flank the jumbo pontoons to give the bridge added support and stability. When it opens to traffic in spring 2016, the new floating bridge will have two general-purpose lanes and one transit-car pool lane in each direction. It will also have wide shoulders and a bicycle and pedestrian path.

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As part of a great Design/Build team Fine Tuned Structures project North Carolina Real Estate Property won the 2017 ICF Builder Magazine Award for best residential project in the World. We are proud for being a member of an award winning team.... Read more

Fine Tuned Structures recently completed the design of new apartment building in downtown Charleston, South Carolina