Damaged Bridge Reopens In Just 26 Days
June 07, 2007 From American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.
Despite original predictions that repairs would take months, the MacArthur Maze Interchange in California was successfully reopened in just 26 days. The bridge's two spans were irreversibly damaged when a tanker truck loaded with 8600 gallons of gasoline overturned on I880.
The subsequent explosion and fire caused the two bridge deck spans of I580 above to collapse, cutting off the East Bay area of Emeryville from the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The collapse greatly inconvenienced commuters and resulted in significant loss of bridge tolls.
Although initial news reports cited a lack of replacement steel and predicted many months of repairs, crews completed reconstruction of the two Interstate 580 spans in 26 days, and traffic resumed in time for the Memorial Day weekend. “We were surprised by some of the initial comments predicting it would take months to recover,” said Roger Ferch, president of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). “We were confident then and have now proven the capability of steel suppliers and fabricators to respond quickly when called upon.” On behalf of all AISC members, Ferch also offered congratulations to the nation’s steel bridge industry and the project team members for their rapid, effective response to the collapse.
Conn Abnee, executive director of the National Steel Bridge Alliance, noted that close cooperation of Caltrans with steel fabricators in Arizona and California, along with steel suppliers in Pennsylvania and Texas, led to a highly successful result. “The nation’s steel bridge industry mobilized quickly and effectively in responding to this emergency,” he said. “The massive effort helped to avert a regional calamity.”
Stinger Welding, Inc., an AISC bridge fabricator located in Coolidge, Ariz., played a key role in the emergency repair. The company located the domestic steel and fabricated the 12 girders and diaphragms for replacing the I580 deck spans. “The two damaged spans each required six new girders, ranging in length from about 70 to 85 feet,” says Nancy Henderson, Procurement and Project Manager for Stinger. “Since the spans were on a curved roadway, all the girders differed in length,” she says.
Henderson explains that Caltrans required the girder’s center 40% section to be free of welded splices. “This requirement meant that we had to purchase 40-ft lengths of 2-inch thick steel plate, which is relatively uncommon as a stock item.”
“Shop drawings submitted within 2 days of bid were approved by Caltrans well within the mandatory 24-hour turnaround, and RFIs were often returned in minutes,” reports Guy Vaccaro, Stinger’s VP of Engineering and Estimating.
Gary Gardner, QA/QC Manager for Stinger, notes that “no corners were cut” in expediting fabrication of the girders. “We still met all the normal D1.5 plus Caltrans QC and QA requirements for inspection and testing of welds,” he says. “We kept four Caltrans daytime and two nighttime inspectors busy sample-inspecting ten percent of the welding performed per shift.”
Stinger Welding fabricated the 12 girders in eight days from the time the steel arrived until shipment. Six truckloads took the girders and diaphragms to Oakland for construction. The company will share in the $5 million incentive for helping C.C. Myers meet the accelerated project timetable.
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American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.
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