Photo essay: Night life at the Fillmore interchange - how those 90-ton girders got installed
In overnight operations July 12 and 13, SEMA Construction installed the six
girders for the new south bridge at the Fillmore/I-25 interchange.
To allow the work, the interstate and Fillmore Street were shut down both nights
between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Four girders were placed the night of July 12 and the
other two July 13.
The girder placement is a milestone in the $15.1 million Fillmore interchange
replacement project, which is due for completion in the summer of 2016.
Plum Creek Structures, a manufacturer in Littleton, fabricated the girders. Each
was transported to the job site on its own semi-tractor/trailer.
Westside Pioneer Editor Kenyon Jordan (wearing a mandatory hard hat
and construction vest) went to the job site the night of July 12 to photograph the
placement of the first two girders. Representative shots with captions appear
Note: Facts about the girder installation (as well as related technical terminology)
came from an interview with Ted Tjerandsen (pronounced CHAIR-and-sen) of
project consultant Wilson & Company.
Two giant telescoping cranes - one sitting on the
freeway below, the other on a flat area just west of the existing bridge,
synchronize to lift a 90-ton, 110-foot-long girder onto previously built abutments
for the new south bridge at the Fillmore/I-25 interchange around midnight July
12. The semi-tractor/trailer that transported the girder can be seen parked on the
old Fillmore Street bridge. The girder, the first of the six to be placed, spans the
southbound lanes between the west and center abutments. The red blocks on the
back of the freeway crane (opposite its telescoping boom) are counterweights that
keep the crane from toppling over while lifting the girder.
LEFT: Two SEMA Construction workers adjust
the final placement of the first girder at the end that will rest on the center
abutment. The girder is still being held slightly aloft by the cranes (not shown).
The green rebar on the abutment will later help stabilize the concrete to be poured
for the bridge deck, as will the thin red "pre-stressing strands," as they're called,
that run the length of the girder. RIGHT: Standing atop the second girder before
its placement, workers secure its attachment to the crane's sling apparatus. The
horseshoe-like green metal pieces sticking out from the top of the girder are also
there to help with stability when the bridge deck concrete is poured.
In a view from the area just west of the current
Fillmore/I-25 bridge, the second of the six girders for the south bridge is lifted
over the first girder (see photos above) and into place just beyond it. The hoisting
gear at the near end belongs to the crane in foreground right while the farther
crane and its apparatus can be seen at the girder's far end. The trailer on which the
girder had been sitting is at far left, marked "oversize load."
LEFT: A worker positions a counterweight as
it's being off-loaded from the trailer of a semi. It took six separate trailer
deliveries to provide the necessary 100 tons worth of counterweights (roughly 50
tons for each crane). In the background are the existing Fillmore bridge (upper
right) and the second crane (upper left), which was situated just west of the bridge.
RIGHT: Workers connect heavy-duty nylon slings (black-encased, lying on the I-
25 pavement) to thick metal shackles attached to a triangle-shaped "spreader bar."
The set-up allows the slings to hang straight down from the bar to either side of
the girder as it's being picked up.
LEFT: Workers team up on the final alignment
of the second girder onto the west abutment. The already-installed first girder can
be seen behind it. RIGHT: In an earlier shot, the first girder sits on the
trailer of the semi that delivered it, waiting to be set in place. The rig is parked on
the Fillmore Street bridge over I-25. The view is west up Fillmore, which was
closed at the interchange for the night.
A winding line of headlights in the night
approach the northbound I-25 off-ramp at the Fillmore/I-25 interchange. Because
of the girder operation, through traffic on the interstate was directed to the
off-ramp, then across Fillmore to the on-ramp and back onto the freeway past the
bridge. This went on for both directions from about 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. both July 12
and 13. Other such closures are anticipated at times during the Fillmore project,
with the next one possible in late July for the south bridge's concrete deck pour.
On July 14, after the girder installation work
July 12-13 at Fillmore/I-25, the new spans can be seen in a view east from the
area of the Waffle House parking lot along Fillmore Street. The three girders
nearest the camera extend between the west and center abutments; the three farther
girders extend from the center to the east abutment.
Westside Pioneer article and photos
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