Saskatoon targets savings by allowing bidders flexibility in design of new bridge

Contractors bidding for a public-private partnership contract that includes the new Traffic Bridge in Saskatoon are now to be given greater freedom in the design. Councillors in the Canadian city hope to save up to US$12.2 million through the removal of an earlier stipulation that the new bridge should have a similar five-span arrangement to the original structure. This week’s decision means that brief now says simply that "the existing Traffic Bridge be replaced with a modern steel truss bridge and efforts be made to incorporate elements that are sympathetic to the heritage and architecture of the existing bridge." The structure over the wetted perimeter of the river would still be required to be a steel Parker through-truss bridge. The Traffic Bridge was closed in August 2010 because of public safety concerns as a result of advanced deterioration of critical structural members. Three teams were shortlisted in October 2014 for the contract for the North Commuter Parkway and Traffic Bridge replacement. The three bidders are Bridge City Infrastructure Group, Bridge City Partners and Graham Commuter Partners. Through the request for proposals process, the council had identified potential cost savings by reducing the rigidity of the requirements. Allowing proponents the flexibility to use fewer spans is expected to result in a more cost-effective solution, with potential savings in the range of US$8.1 million to US$12.2 million. The estimated capital cost of the North Commuter Parkway is US$172.2 million, and the estimated cost to replace the Traffic Bridge had earlier been put at US$33.6 million. It is expected the project agreement will be in place with a preferred proponent by November 2015.

Design contest launched for clifftop bridge to Cornish castle

English Heritage has launched a design competition for a clifftop footbridge to serve the spectacular historical site of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. Expressions of interest are being invited in the first stage of the two-stage competition. Teams who progress to the second stage will then need to conceptualise a design incorporating a construction methodology, in order to mitigate the challenging environment and access constraints. English Heritage said that teams should include both experienced architects and engineers who can deliver a challenging and sensitive project to deadline and within cost constraints. “English Heritage is a progressive patron and will encourage teams which balance seasoned experience with emerging talent,” it added.  Some 200,000 people a year visit the castle and headland. The existing approach is physically demanding for visitors and relies on a wooden footbridge built in 1975 to cross the eroded isthmus that separates the two surviving parts of the castle. The bridge suffers from congestion in the peak season as do the linking paths, which are becoming worn in places. Its replacement will be 28m higher than the current crossing and have a 72m in span, opening up dramatic new views of the headland, coastline and Atlantic seascape. It will trace the path – now lost through collapse and erosion – of the original land-link.  The new structure will be expected to exemplify design at its most assured, according to the competition brief. “English Heritage envisages an elegant, even structurally daring, concept, which is beautiful in its own right and sensitively balanced with the landscape and exceptional surroundings – the site lying within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," it says. Total project costs are estimated to be US$6.3 million and delivery of the bridge is expected to be completed by spring 2019. The competition is being managed on behalf of English Heritage by Malcolm Reading Consultants. The closing date for expressions of interest is 21 July. Details can be found on Malcolm Reading Consultants’ website (link opens in new tab).

Construction of the new Champlain Bridge in Montreal, Canada to begin tomorrow

The new Champlain Bridge will cost US$3.46 billion over the next 34 years, with construction set to be completed by December 2018. The total cost of the project is US$3.46 billion, falling within the Government of Canada's initial estimates. This amount includes the US$3.24 billion contract between the Government of Canada and the Signature on the St. Lawrence Group, which covers the construction period, to begin in June 2015 and end in the fall of 2019, as well as a subsequent 30-year operating period. The agreement includes the design, construction, financing, operation and rehabilitation of the corridor project, including the new Champlain Bridge, the new Île-des-Sœurs Bridge and reconstruction and widening of the federal portion of Highway 15.     The private consortium building the 3km-long bridge for the St Lawrence corridor is called Signature on the St. Lawrence (SSL), and is comprised of SNC-Lavalin and partners ACS Infrastructure and Hochtief PPP Solutions.   Construction of the new Champlain Brige’s piers is expected to begin in winter and the deck will be constructed in summer 2016.   The new bridge will carry two three-lane corridors for vehicular traffic and a two-lane transit corridor capable of accommodating a planned light rail transit system. It will also include a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.   It replaces the existing Champlain Bridge, a steel truss cantilever bridge with approach viaducts constructed of prestressed concrete beams supporting a prestressed concrete deck paved with asphalt. The bridge crosses the Saint Lawrence River and Saint Lawrence Seaway, connecting the Montreal boroughs of Verdun and Le Sud-Ouest to Brossard on the South Shore.   Champlain Bridge is one of the busiest in Canada, with some US$20 billion worth of international trade crossing it every year.   An architectural review panel of architect Poul Ove Jensen from Dissing+Weitling, local firm Provencher Roy, the City of Montréal, Mission Design, Heritage Montréal, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and the Ordre des architectes du Québec developed the design for the new bridge in collaboration with Arup. Groupe SM has also worked on the highway components.   This is the first time that a Canadian public private-partnership procurement has included a definition design to ensure that the architectural vision is realised in the finished structure.

Viaduct construction begins for USA’s first high-speed railway

Construction is now under way of the first elevated structure for California’s high-speed railway. The beginnings of the Fresno River Viaduct can now be seen. This week, crews have begun the process of constructing the foundations for the 488m segmental viaduct.  A joint venture design-build team of Tutor Perini, Zachry and Parsons (TPZP) is in charge of delivering the first 47km stretch of the railway. The Fresno River Viaduct will cross State Route 145 and the Fresno River, and will run parallel with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway track. Construction of the viaduct is expected to take between nine and twelve months. Approximately 75 people will work on completing the structure including TPZP subcontractors Becho, Landavazo Bros and Schwager Davis, with materials being supplied by Martinez Steel Corporation and Outback Materials. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the USA’s first high-speed rail system. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego for a total of about 1,290km with up to 24 stations.  

New agreement ensures go-ahead for stalled Bonner Bridge project

The US state of North Carolina can now move forward with the replacement of the Herbert C Bonner Bridge after coming to an agreement with objectors. A team of PCL Civil Constructors and HDR Engineering had been awarded a US$215.8 design-build contract in 2011 to replace the bridge but objections subsequently brought the project to a standstill. Governor Pat McCrory’s transportation team has now reached an agreement with the Defenders of Wildlife, the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the Southern Environmental Law Center. Those organisations will now dismiss the state and federal lawsuits that have stalled the construction of the new bridge parallel to the existing one. The Federal Highway Administration is also a party to the settlement. “Thanks to the hard work of all of the parities, we’ve replaced lawsuits with an agreement that will strengthen our coastal economy and provide motorists with a modern and safer bridge to Hatteras Island,” said McCrory.  He added: “Today, we begin building a bridge that has been more than two decades in the making.” The Bonner Bridge, which opened for traffic in 1963, connects Hatteras Island, via NC Highway 12, to the North Carolina mainland.

New York adopts precasting to shave two years from viaduct refurb

Rehabilitation of the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx is to shortened by approximately two years under an expedited schedule introduced yesterday. Use of precasting will now enable the US$133 million project to be completed in 2017. The plan involves the use of 30,660m2 of precast concrete deck panels to renovate the elevated portion of the highway, running from East 138th Street to the Macombs Dam Bridge. As well as quality-control benefits, the process will also improve durability by reducing the number of joints. Additionally, there will be fewer activities on site, resulting in less overall noise and construction traffic in and around the project area. Project contractor Tully Construction expects the work to be substantially completed by late summer 2017.

Robots to build 3D-printed bridge in central Amsterdam

A team that includes Heijmans is to use 3D printing to build a steel bridge in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The project was initiated by Dutch start-up MX3D; Heijmans will contribute its experience in construction and technology to carry out the printing of the bridge, which is designed by Dutch designer Joris Laarman. MX3D and the city of Amsterdam will shortly announce the exact location of the site. MX3D equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing tools and develops software so that the robots print metals, plastics and combinations of materials in virtually any format. “This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form,” said Laarman. “The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds." The MX3D Bridge project will be supported by collaborators Autodesk and Heijmans, sponsors Air Liquide , ABB robotics, STV, Delcam, Within, Lenovo and public partners TU Delft, AMS, Amsterdam City Council. A visitor center will open to the public in September, where the progress of the project can be followed.

Robots to build 3D-printed bridge in central Amsterdam

A team that includes Heijmans is to use 3D printing to build a steel bridge in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The project was initiated by Dutch start-up MX3D; Heijmans will contribute its experience in construction and technology to carry out the printing of the bridge, which is designed by Dutch designer Joris Laarman. MX3D and the city of Amsterdam will shortly announce the exact location of the site. MX3D equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing tools and develops software so that the robots print metals, plastics and combinations of materials in virtually any format. “This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form,” said Laarman. “The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds." The MX3D Bridge project will be supported by collaborators Autodesk and Heijmans, sponsors Air Liquide , ABB robotics, STV, Delcam, Within, Lenovo and public partners TU Delft, AMS, Amsterdam City Council. A visitor center will open to the public in September, where the progress of the project can be followed.

New York’s oldest bridge reopens after 40 years

The High Bridge in New York, USA, has reopened following a restoration project. It is the city’s oldest bridge that is still standing but has been closed to the public for more than 40 years. It will now provide a scenic pedestrian and cycling route between the Bronx and Manhattan. The 442m-long, 37.5m-high bridge opened in 1848 and was a part of the city’s first water supply system. It has now been restored and improved by New York City Parks and the Department Of Design & Construction. Features include a hand-restored brick walkway, restored historic railings, a new safety fence, barrier-free access and new architectural lighting. “In a city that offers us nearly everything, the restored High Bridge is a rare first: the only interborough bridge reserved just for pedestrians and bikes,” said Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer. “It’s a beautiful structure that will offer visitors from both sides of the Harlem River green space, recreational facilities, and amazing views.”

Five shortlisted for Storstrøm Bridge

Denmark’s road directorate Vejdirektoratet has shortlisted five consortia to bid for the construction of the US$635 million Storstrøm Bridge. A total of seven companies, consortia or joint ventures had applied to become prequalified for the 4km crossing, which will link Zealand and Falster. The five are: a joint venture of Vinci Construction Grand Projects, Hochtief Infrastructure and MT Højgaard; Storstrømsbroen Contractors – made up of Per Aarsleff, Ed. Züblin, Underrådgiver Rambøll and Underentreprenør Strabag; Rizzani de Eccher – NV Besix – Acciona Infraestructuras; a joint venture of Obrascon Huarte Lain - SK Engineering & Construction Company; a joint venture of Itinera - Condotte - Grandi Lavori Fincosit and Underrådgiver Seteco Ingegneria.  "We have been favoured with seven highly qualified candidates who all met our minimum requirements to be considered,” said Vejdirektoratet’s Erik Stoklund Larsen. The two rejected bidders were Storstrøm Link Contractors (BAM Infra and Max Bögl International) and China Communications Construction Company. Procurement had begun in February (link opens in new tab). Vejdirektoratet plans to continue the bidding process once the final schedule for the Fehmarnbelt link between Denmark and Germany is known, which is expected to be in the autumn. Cowi is leading the design of the bridge, with Dissing + Weitling and Hasløv & Kjærsgaard working as sub-consultants.

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