Night closures of I-70 set this week
Question: What are “girders” and how are they placed on the bridge?
You may have seen the big cranes operating in the Grand Avenue bridge construction site, and you may have also noticed them picking and setting giant steel beams — it’s hard to miss.
These steel beams, or girders, are used to support and stabilize the deck of the new Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge. Made out of USA steel, the girders, spanning anywhere from 62 to 105 feet, weigh 27,000 to 50,000 pounds each. Over the next two weeks, 14 girders will be set.
We have already started this work on the north side at the Hot Springs Pool, and it will continue south toward downtown. The bridge girders will be placed in seven sections, with one girder installed on each side of a section. This process will take time and careful consideration, and the completion date is expected to be around July 22.
Once completed, the skeletal structure of the pedestrian bridge will be in place and work will begin on placing and forming the bridge deck.
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But in order to do this work safely and efficiently, traffic on Interstate 70 and the Grand Avenue bridge will be impacted, and recreational use restrictions on the Colorado River will be required. You see, the contractor and Colorado Department of Transportation must provide a safe project work site at all times, not only for the construction crew, but for the public at large. Swinging 10- to 20-ton pieces of steel over the interstate and river cannot be conducted safely unless travel under the bridge is restricted, both on the highway and on the river.
Here is a quick schedule so you know when these closures will occur:
• Monday, July 11, through Wednesday, July 13: I-70 night detours from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (The last one ends at 6 a.m. Thursday the 14th.) Both eastbound and westbound traffic will merge into one lane in each direction and will be detoured through Sixth Street via a break-in-barrier on I-70 near the Yampah Vapor Caves. Interstate traffic will then be routed back to I-70 at Exit 116.
• Monday, July 18, through Friday, July 22: These closures are weather permitting and could go into the following week to July 29. The contractor will not close the Colorado River put-ins on Saturday or Sunday. Shoshone, Grizzly Creek and No Name will be no-launch areas until noon each day. Daily river briefing conference calls begin at 3 p.m. July 11. The conference call number is 218-339-7800, and the access code is 2300335. A fine of $100 will be assessed by the Sheriff’s Office for violating these closures.
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