Friday, March 14, 2014

One Bridge Down

On the first day of 40+ degree temperature when after a winter like this past one, it feels just like around 80 degrees, we hit the trail along the river to stretch our legs with about half the stir crazy inhabitants of this town. I'm not sure what will happen tomorrow when the temperature if forecasted to be in the mid-60's but I full expect no good can come of it. I plan to be out and taking part in whatever no good is happening because it is just too nice to be indoors.

The bridge in town that I use the least is shown above. Even for those who use it the most, they aren't using it now. The deck is being torn off of it and a new deck put in place hopefully open to use sometime early this next winter. The build a berm of rock that stretches about 7/8th of the way across the river to work off of with a crane. I'm not sure how that will work when the snow pack up north starts to melt in earnest. I suppose most of the big rock is too big to be moved much but the little stuff that they used as fill will surely be gone and have to be replaced, not to mention any equipment left behind. But because there is a dam only a hundred yards or so upstream, I reckon they will get sufficient warning to move before the gates are opened.  All this certainly will spice up our summer walks along the river this year.

Speaking of the river, it must have been exciting to see the ice pack get swept downstream. I missed out on the action but the riverbanks were littered with huge blocks of ice, some much larger than our minivan. Because the river is about at the same level it has been all winter long, all of them were pushed up by ice jams before the water eventually broke them down and swept them downstream. Like I said, I wish I'd been there to see it happen.

(Addendum March 14th at 8:20: The next day after I took the photo the water had breached the road beneath the bridge and a few days after that, it was a foot deep over it. I'm guessing they will have to do some rebuilding when they need to use it again.)


Ron said...

I always wanted to see an ice pack break up, but I never have.

That's interesting that they built a road for the equipment in the river. It seems like it would be pretty risky close to springtime, though.

roaring40 said...

Why did they need the berm at all. Surely they could've worked forward and back as the deck was removed and then replaced. They are hardly going to pour the deck as a unit. And if they were, why not simply shove it out from one side like with the Millau viaduct. The only reason to build the berm that I can see would be if the piers were being raised or removed.

Ed said...

Ron - I wish I had seen it too. Now that I live closer to the river, perhaps my chances will increase though I suspect they still aren't very good.

Vince - I'm not sure why they built the berm in the river and I've not seen them use it yet other than when they were building it. (It is now well under water.) They have already removed the deck starting in the middle and moving out to the ends. I'm not sure how they are going to reconstruct the deck but they have said in the paper that they aren't replacing the piers or under support.

roaring40 said...

Another reason might have been to keep any reinforcing rods from being taken downstream in floods. Those durn things would act like caltrops to any boat until they were swept down to deeper channel's. It could take years to rid the river of them.

Ed said...

Vince - You could be right. It is on the downstream side and when they were removing the deck, all the debris was falling into the upstream side of the berm.

roaring40 said...

Oh, I noticed there was no catch net slung below the deck. That's why I thought of a dam of sorts. Here they would have had one if only to catch a person falling. But it may well be slinging a hawser each side may be incredibly difficult if there was nothing to anchor them, both ends. It wouldn't be enough to tie in from pier to pier.
Then it wouldn't really matter id the core washed away as long as the big stuff acted like a huge sieve. It would be dead easy to scatter fist sized stone to replace the core when it would be crossed.
Of course, if they were widening the bridge they would need easy access to establish new piers.

Ed said...

Vince - The paper today said they were also replacing the girders on top of the piers so I'm guessing that the berm road in the river is for equipment while doing that step. I had thought they were just replacing the deck.