In January, a cargo ship struck a section of the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge that crosses the Tennessee River near Aurora, Ky., destroying a 322-foot span of the 3,495-foot-long bridge. Within hours, a team from District 1 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet went into action to inspect the bridge piers and start the process of distributing a bid request to a list of approved contractors, so the span could quickly be replaced.
Bridge contractor Hall Contracting, Louisville, Ky. answered the call with Terex rough-terrain cranes and Terex Bid-Well paving equipment to construct and pave the new span. Owensboro, Ky.-based, Sterett Crane and Rigging was called to provide the heavy lifting with specialized equipment, including the Terex CC2800-1 lattice boom crawler crane. Working in tandem with another crawler crane, The Terex CC2800-1 lifted the 640,000-pound span onto a barge and then onto the bridge piers, helping the project be completed in less than four months.
The Eggner's Ferry Bridge is a vital link to the western entrance of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area, the top tourist destination in western Kentucky. The closed bridge resulted in a 42-mile detour, turning a 22-mile trip from Aurora to Cadiz into a 64-mile journey.
The first step toward bridge repair was to verify that the existing piers were not damaged, which took three weeks to complete. At the same time, engineers converted the bridge’s 80-year-old hand-drawn blueprints into AutoCAD format. The Transportation Cabinet then sent out a request for bids to replace the missing section of the Parker Truss bridge design. “The required completion date was midnight Sunday, May 27th,” said Keith Todd, public information officer for Districts 1 and 2 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, in time for Memorial Day.
Four contractors submitted bids, and Hall Contracting was awarded the $7 million contract on March 8, six weeks after the accident. With less than 12 weeks to complete the project and have the bridge reopened, Hall’s first order of business was to source more than 300 tons of steel to construct the truss frame. “Unfortunately, the steel mill shut down for a week and a half for maintenance,” recalls Randy Downey, project manager for Hall Contracting. This made meeting the improbable deadline with a $50,000 per day disincentive much more difficult to achieve.
With the steel ordered, a construction site was needed to assemble the replacement Warren Truss frame design. With the tight timeframe, the only possible option was building the frame on land and floating it to the bridge site. “We had three nearby river ports, but Hall needed at least four acres of land,” said Todd. “The Eddyville Port north of the bridge was the only available port with enough land,” and that port was nearly 30 miles from the bridge.
In mid-April, steel began arriving at the site, and Hall’s crews began construction. “In 32 days, we received the structural steel, built the truss span, had it floated down the river and set it in place,” said Downey.
On site to aid in truss frame construction were two Terex rough-terrain cranes. The Terex RT555-1 offered crews a 55-ton rated lift capacity with maximum boom length of 110 feet while the larger RT780 delivered an 80-ton rated capacity and 126-foot boom length.
While bridge construction continued, Sterett Crane and Rigging received the contract to plan and execute the tedious task of placing the 322-foot span onto a deck barge, float it down the Tennessee River, and lift it into place from the water. “We were awarded the project on April 24 and had less than two weeks to mobilize 60 truckloads of equipment and be hook-ready by May 7,” said Keith Brumley, vice president of operations for Sterett Crane and Rigging.
Lifting by Terex
Sterett moved its new Terex CC2800-1 crane nearly 800 miles from the Port of Baltimore directly to the Kentucky jobsite. Since the crane was commissioned on the Eggners Ferry Bridge project, “it added some time to the assembly effort, but we had the crane rigged in about three days,” said Matt Crisp, Owensboro branch manager for Sterett. “Terex helped the effort by providing two crawler crane technicians to assist with setup.”
The RT555-1 pulled double duty by assisting with the CC2800-1 crane rigging as well as bridge assembly. Sterett’s crews equipped the lattice boom crawler crane with 177 feet of main boom and the Superlift mast to boost lift capacities. “The Superlift attachment also provided extra stability on the barge,” said Jim Creek, senior product manager for Terex crawler cranes in North America.
To lift the 320-ton bridge span, 352,000 pounds of main counterweight was added to the crane house and 220,000 pounds to the Superlift tray. The crane’s hook was configured with a 16-part line. “The CC2800-1 offers 32,000 pounds of line-pull per line, which provided ample safety factor,” added Creek.
With both the CC2800-1 crawler crane fully rigged and final assembly of the truss span complete, Sterett’s crews began loading the bridge span onto the deck barge on May 14. Offering a maximum 1,323,000-pound rated lift capacity at a 32’10” radius, the CC2800-1 along with its tandem crawler crane lift partner offered plenty of capacity for the job. “We chose the CC2800-01 because of its capacity, and, since we were working from barges, crawler cranes were the best fit,” said Brumley.
After loading the bridge span onto its barges, the crawler cranes were then positioned on their barges. “The RT555-1 helped to load and unload counterweight onto the CC2800-1 and its Superlift tray, since Sterett’s crews did not want to swing the crawler cranes to the sides of the barges,” said Creek.
The parade of bridge and lifting equipment barges navigated nearly 30 miles of river on their way from the Eddyville Port to the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge site. “It took roughly six hours to make the trip,” said Crisp. Brumley added, “With the site being right off the interstate, the only major issue was trying to ensure the safety of the constant stream of spectators throughout the project.”
Crews positioned the crawler crane deck barges upstream from the bridge, while the new bridge span was located on the downstream side. Barge spuds were lowered to maintain positioning in the river.
At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 15, Sterett’s crews rigged the crawler cranes to the 322-foot-long, 32-foot-tall and 25-foot-wide bridge span. Care was taken as the two cranes lifted the span in unison from the barges. “There was no room for error,” said Crisp.
Sterett’s operators lifted the span at a 72-foot radius with a 15-foot elevation. The truss frame left the deck barges on its way to an established 45-foot radius at a final 55-foot lift elevation. The operators then boomed back the load to place it on the piers. “The CC2800-1 delivered very smooth and precise operation in a tight situation when setting the span,” added Crisp.
By 2:45 p.m., less than 6 hours after the hoist began, the 322-foot span was set on its piers
After the new bridge span was placed on its piers, deck paving was the one final hurdle that remained. In less than four days, Hall’s crews finished placing the metal decking, installed rebar and shot 6,000 sheer connectors.
At 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, crews began pumping a Class AA 4000 PSI concrete mix onto the new span. Within five hours, 160 cubic yards of concrete was paved with a Terex Bid-Well 3600 paver, which was equipped with its swing leg option to deliver zero clearance paving. “On the rail, we had 1-inch clearance from the paver’s axle to the diagonal supports of the bridge,” says Downey.
On Friday, May 25, the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge was, once again, ready for traffic, two days ahead of schedule. The Kentucky Transportation held a bridge opening ceremony during the morning hours and officially opened the bridge to traffic at 1 p.m. CDT.