Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-15-2012, 07:47 AM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
 
dougd1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 300
Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

<h1 class="entry-title headline">Some of you out there may find this project interesting even if you don't travel these waters. This article came from the Daily News in Galveston, Texas. The photos came from an unknown source...maybe the newspaper as well? Enjoy!</h1><h1 class="entry-title headline">*</h1><h1 class="entry-title headline">Bridge span to be moved into place</h1>By Michael A. Smith
The Daily News

<abbr class="published timestamp" title="2012-02-07 00:00:00">Published February 7, 2012</abbr>
GALVESTON In the next few days, a team of more than 100 people will begin moving a 1,580-ton span of railroad bridge from a construction site on Harborside Drive to a spot just northeast of Galvestons causeway, where it will be affixed between two huge, blue towers.

The intricately planned and choreographed operation will be a high point in an $80 million project to replace an old and notoriously narrow rail drawbridge.

The old bridge spanned only 105 feet. That narrow gap was one of the trickiest places to navigate along the entire Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The new bridge system will give mariners on the waterway a slot 300 feet wide through which to pass.

The move could begin as early as Wednesday, or as late as Friday, depending on such variables as the weather, and take the rest of this week and most of next week, Brian Watson, senior project manager with Cianbro Corp., said. Pittsfield, Maine-based Cianbro Corp. built the bridge in a joint venture with Birmingham, Ala.-based Brasfield & Gorrie.

The First Step

The plan for the move and installation fills 600 pages in a three-ring binder. It spells out where every crew on every shift should be and what they should be doing down to about the minute.

The first step in the journey of two or so miles will be getting the massive, looming span off a series of concrete foundations, which were used like sawhorses while it was being built, and onto a barge.

The dimensions involved illustrate what a task that will be. The span is 382 feet long, 27 yards longer than a football field. Its about 50 feet tall, the height of a five-story building, and 22 feet wide.

Crews have knocked out all the foundations except the ones supporting each end of the span, Watson said. Soon, trailers will be rolled under and lift the span, which then will be hauled over a series of ramps to the bay and onto a 300-foot-long, 100-foot-wide barge.

The team then will spend several hours lashing the span to the barge and making the whole rig weighing in by then at about 1,700 tons seaworthy.

When thats done, and wind and other weather factors allow, tugboats will push and pull the barge to a staging point on the Intracoastal Canal.

When the barge with the span gets to that spot in the canal, one of the busiest commercial waterways in the country will be closed, and a clock will start. The team will have 72 hours to get the span installed and in operation or face penalties.

Simple On Paper

Conceptually, the plan is simple. The tugs will push the barge into the gap between the two blue towers. The barge will hold the bridge span about three feet higher than it needs to be to mate up to its moorings on the towers. Pumps will push water into the barge until it settles the three or so feet needed to get the span into the proper spot.

Simple; or it would be, if not for the details. Along with the sheer mass involved and the fact its all riding on water, there are finer details.

For example, the space the span must fit into is only five inches wider than the span itself, giving the crew maneuvering it home only 2.5 inches of space on each end. And thats just one alignment. All four bottom corners of the span have to be aligned with their counterparts on the towers so the railroad tracks align properly.

Its a three-dimensional problem, Watson said. It has to be true and square. It cant be tilted, pitched or yawed.

Crews will do the fine alignment with winches and cables and by filling or venting ballast tanks in specific spots inside the barge.

Plug-and-play

Its an oversimplification, but the span is a little like a huge plug-and-play module. It will arrive at the bridge site complete with everything it needs to operate railroad tracks and ties, lights, even its final paint job.

When the span is in the right place, crews will set about connecting 64 2.25-inch steel cables that will anchor it to the towers and raise and lower it when the bridge operates.

They also will have to make numerous electrical connections and adjustments and conduct tests on the bridges systems.

The new bridge should be ready to accommodate rail and marine traffic Feb. 17.

Half-million Hours

The old bridge was built in 1909. It featured two railroad tracks and a roadway for cars. Cars stopped using it in 1935.

In 2001, The U.S. Coast Guard declared the old bridge to be an unreasonable obstruction to navigation and ordered the passage widened to 300 feet.

The Coast Guard is paying 95 percent of the construction cost, while the other 5 percent will be split among Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, the city of Galveston, the Port of Galveston and Galveston County.

Construction began June 1, 2010, and the projected completion, including removing the old bridge apparatus, is June 1.

The project directly employed about 150 people, many of them local, at its peak and will have generated about 500,000 man-hours of work when its done, Watson said.
__________________
Advertisement

dougd1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 09:03 AM   #2
Guru
 
Keith's Avatar
 
Vessel Name: Anastasia III
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,716
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Pretty cool! I've been watching them build at both locations for some time now.
__________________

Keith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 11:12 AM   #3
Guru
 
Steve's Avatar
 
City: Thibodaux, Louisiana
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Gumbo
Vessel Model: 2003 Monk 36
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,607
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

And a nice calm day for it.
Steve W
Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 11:30 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
 
dougd1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 300
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Quote:
dougd1 wrote:The old bridge spanned only 105 feet. That narrow gap was one of the trickiest places to navigate along the entire Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The new bridge system will give mariners on the waterway a slot 300 feet wide through which to pass.
The last 2 pics really are good at illustrating how important this project is to those that cruise through this part of the ICW. This narrow passage has been the site of MANY near misses as well as a few collisions!
dougd1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
Guru
 
Steve's Avatar
 
City: Thibodaux, Louisiana
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Gumbo
Vessel Model: 2003 Monk 36
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,607
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

The RR bridge in Houma Louisiana was removed and loaded onto barges about a year ago I believe it has or will be erected in Freeport TX.
Steve W.
Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
Guru
 
Gulf Comanche's Avatar
 
City: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Country: U.S.A.
Vessel Name: Old School
Vessel Model: 38' Trawler custom built by Hike Metal Products
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 799
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Doug, is that the Gulf Freeway causeway at Galveston?
Gulf Comanche is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
Guru
 
healhustler's Avatar
 
City: Longboat Key, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bucky
Vessel Model: Krogen Manatee 36 North Sea
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,181
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Fantastic, Doug. Thanks for publishing.
healhustler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 03:32 PM   #8
TF Site Team
 
dwhatty's Avatar
 
City: Home Port: Buck's Harbor, Maine
Country: USA
Vessel Name: "Emily Anne"
Vessel Model: 2001 Island Gypsy 32 Europa (Hull #146)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,733
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

And the bridge was (partially) built by a Maine company. Is that good or bad?
dwhatty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 04:49 PM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
 
dougd1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 300
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Quote:
Gulf Comanche wrote:
Doug, is that the Gulf Freeway causeway at Galveston?
Yes. Most of the pictures above appear to have been taken from the I45 freeway bridge over the ICW. The railroad bridge is on the East side of the freeway.
dougd1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
 
dougd1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 300
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Quote:
dwhatty wrote:
And the bridge was (partially) built by a Maine company. Is that good or bad?
It may have been contracted to a Maine company but the span was actually built in a yard a few miles to the South just off of Harborside Drive in the City of Galveston. I'm sure that most of the paychecks earned on the project will be spent in and around Galveston!
dougd1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 05:03 PM   #11
TF Site Team
 
dwhatty's Avatar
 
City: Home Port: Buck's Harbor, Maine
Country: USA
Vessel Name: "Emily Anne"
Vessel Model: 2001 Island Gypsy 32 Europa (Hull #146)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,733
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Darn! We need the $$$ up here badly.
dwhatty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 06:21 PM   #12
Guru
 
Keith's Avatar
 
Vessel Name: Anastasia III
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,716
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

You're right Charles. This one was always very carefully navigated. Now I get barges will try to*meet at*the span. We'll see! I never thought that area was a problem, as long as you always used the radio to see what was coming/going. I have heard some significant cussing though at that area. :-)
Keith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2012, 06:24 PM   #13
Guru
 
Keith's Avatar
 
Vessel Name: Anastasia III
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,716
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

No $$ to pass. Just need to hail "Galveston causeway railroad bridge" on 16 or 13. Also a good idea to call for concerned traffic approaching from the opposite direction, east or westbound.
Keith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 05:09 AM   #14
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,534
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

This generation of US kids is growing up with out an Erector Set ,

will work like this be done for us in the future by Chinese imported labor?
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 09:27 AM   #15
Guru
 
ARoss's Avatar
 
City: Chocowinity NC
Vessel Name: My Yuki
Vessel Model: 1973 Marine Trader 34
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 625
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

I wonder if the bridge will default to usually "up" or "down" position.

Here in Washington NC , there is a rr bridge across the Pamlico that mostly stays open for boat traffic unless a train needs it..

I don't know how often the bridge tender needs to close it, but it may be significant that he doesn't even monitor Ch 13 or 16. You need to know his cell# !
ARoss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 09:35 AM   #16
JD
Guru
 
JD's Avatar
 
City: New Bern NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Stella Di Mare
Vessel Model: Mainship 34t
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,702
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

Quote:
ARoss wrote:
I wonder if the bridge will default to usually "up" or "down" position.

Here in Washington NC , there is a rr bridge across the Pamlico that mostly stays open for boat traffic unless a train needs it..

I don't know how often the bridge tender needs to close it, but it may be significant that he doesn't even monitor Ch 13 or 16. You need to know his cell# !
*The one in Downtown New Bern is the same.* It is a swing and closes on an approaching train.* I'm not sure there is a tender there ever.

I think asking an approaching train to stop so one could go through would be a little presumptuous. Then again for some maybe not.
JD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 10:00 AM   #17
Guru
 
Gulf Comanche's Avatar
 
City: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Country: U.S.A.
Vessel Name: Old School
Vessel Model: 38' Trawler custom built by Hike Metal Products
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 799
RE: Bridge Project in Galveston Nears Completion

There's a rr bridge on Hwy 55 going north out of New Orleans, it spans part of Pass Manchac. It stays open except for daily traffic in and out of New Orleans and is controlled out of Missouri, I think. There's an 800 number and address posted that you can call and find out when it closes for traffic. Last year it was down and there were some guys working on the rails nearby who were going to be there awhile; I called and asked if they would raise it for a few minutes and let me through and they did, pretty cool.
Mike
Baton Rouge
__________________

Gulf Comanche is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hello from Galveston Dan and Lori Island Gypsy/Halvorsen Designs 14 04-20-2012 06:27 PM
Galveston Bay... Baker Fuel Check 0 09-28-2011 08:10 PM
Galveston,Tx. Baker Fuel Check 8 02-11-2009 11:27 AM
Galveston Yacht Basin troy994719 Fuel Check 2 09-02-2008 03:28 PM
Galveston, TX Keith Fuel Check 1 07-15-2008 01:15 PM




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012