St. Paul Bridge Constructed Using State-of-the-Art Technology
Saturday was an historic day for bridge-building in Minnesota.
For the first time ever, the Minnesota Department of Transportation built a bridge off site, and then moved it into place using state of the art technology.
The location: 35E and Maryland Avenue in St. Paul, closing down a stretch of interstate. The new-fangled technology cut construction time, and lane closures, in half. The project has taken about two months; in the past it would have taken at least four.
"Today we're moving Maryland Avenue bridge into position in two pieces," said MNDot's Todd Kramascz. Each piece was 107 feet long, 120 feet wide. The bridge was built adjacent to its installation point and then transported into place by something called a "Self Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT). "We can get in, do a job, do it very well, and move on to the next," he added. "This is an idea we'd like to do more often."
"The precision that is involved is kind of astounding, really," said Dan Crawford of White Bear Lake, who came to watch the bridge completion. "Someone sat down with a computer and laid all this out--that's the easy part. And then to translate it into the field, that's the hard part."
St. Paul residents who helped plan the project were on cloud nine. "This made us kind of like feel 10 feet tall that they would take this technology and bring it here," said Ann Polachek, of the District 5 Planning Council. "It gives you a natural high just to be here."
The project was funded by grant money from the Federal Highways for Life, which helps innovative construction methods come to fruition.
MNDot says it hopes to have 35E, between Highway 36 and I-94, back open by early Sunday morning.
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at email@example.com