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Build A Bridge In A Day

By: Denny Trease Email
By: Denny Trease Email

How long does it take to erect a pre-cast concrete bridge on a city street? Would you believe about 8 hours?

That was the time allotted a 12 man crew on Appomattox Road in Lexington Tuesday using a huge crane to put in place unbelievably heavy sections of bridge.

Steve Smart, the manager for Hy-Span Systems, tells 27 NEWSFIRST,
"The two end sections which have the head walls on top, weigh 47,000 pounds each."

That leads one to wonder if the crews ever lower one of the concrete monsters into place, and it just doesn't fit.

Smart smiles broadly as he says, "Occasionally, that does happen, but there are ways to make it work. It is the nightmare of the night before though that keeps us from sleeping too well."

Even if things don't always go exactly as planned, it's still an amazing
process to watch.

Virginia and John Preston, who live in the area near Appomattox Road, were curious onlookers as the bridge went up.

Virginia says, "We think it's wonderful what they've been able to accomplish so quickly. We were wondering what they were going to do, if they were going to get finished before school started. Obviously to have the bridge sections pre-constructed or whatever they call it, they can really work a lot faster."

John Preston says, "I'm fascinated with that big crane. I don't think I've ever seen any machinery that tall before. I knew they had big ones, but it looks like they could work on skyscrapers with something that big."

The experts who do this for a living must be really good at working jigsaw puzzles, right? Steve Smart says, "Not necessarily. I only like the ones that have 10 or 12 pieces, and the pieces are really big."

If Smart's crew had been hauling in truckloads of ready-mix concrete on this project instead of using the pre-cast sections, it could have taken six weeks or more to get the bridge up, depending on the weather

After Tuesday's bridge blitz, that section of Appomattox Road should reopen to traffic within two weeks.


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