"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

All aboard for a gigantic spectacle of bridgework

How do you move 4 million pounds of steel across the highway?
Crowd at ODOT viewing area, Click to enlarge all photos.
I don't know, and the engineering and technology involved boggles the mind, and the magnitude of the project is a real spectacle. Along with many others, I stood in cold this morning as contractors for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation started moving two railroad trusses across the closed Broadway Extension I-235 at North 50th Street. 
You'll rarely see Broadway Extension closed, view from 50th Street.
North truss waiting to be moved at center top.
ODOT set up a viewing area on the east side, and about 100 people showed up to watch the first truss being placed this morning. ODOT is one of the pros in our sometimes dysfunctional state government--the viewing area was a public service, but also a safety measure, keeping crowds from getting into construction zones.
Here's an untold story
The bridge and its northern partner are being moved from the construction site several hundred yards north.
The crowd included young and old and lots of would-be engineers commenting away, all marveling at the events as the truss was inched into place to fit on giant bolts.
They shut down I-235 last night, and by the time I arrived about 8:30 this morning, the truss was already moved south. 
When I left at just after 10, it had been placed on the a concrete pillars that will allow the BNSF freights to cross the widened I-235 when completed--the largest project in ODOT history at $88 million. While I was there,  four BNSF freights rumbled by on the heavily transited soon-to-be replaced existing bridge, sounding their horns, adding to the atmosphere of the constant warning beeping of construction vehicles backing up.
ODOT held a televised news conference explaining the project
Work is no where near over. Once in place, it'll be up to the railroad to relocate the tracks, and there's lots of work left for  the highway contractor.
You can catch live online streaming at www.i235live.com.
Inch by inch

Or even less than nch by inch

The scale of this is astounding

In place!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, totally jealous of you. I remember that crossing well. Amazing how big yet how precise it is. And the ironworkers. They always wear their hard hats backwards to make it easier to see up.


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