Emergency Bridge Repair

Emergency Bridge launch

A loaded truck struck, and severely damaged, a bridge on Highway 93/95 near Fairmont BC and so a detour bridge was needed immediately.
On a Monday in early December, 2007 a loaded truck struck the Dutch Creek Bridge on Highway 93/95 and damaged the structure such that it could no longer support two way traffic or regular truck traffic.  As a result the bridge was under 24-hour flag person control and the DoT was standing by to ensure no trucks over 26,500 kg went over the bridge.  This was detrimental to a number of local businesses who rely on the highway for supplies and materials.  This includes the local Canfor lumber mill which was forced to close as they could not ship any chips resulting in over 150 people being sent home. After looking into various options the Ministry of Transportation decided to install a temporary replacement bridge to get traffic flowing again.  On a Wednesday afternoon Johnston Construction received a call from Mainroad East Kootenay Ltd. who needed a crew and equipment to install the temporary bridge.  Johnston Construction worked late into the evening organizing a crew and assembling the equipment needed for the work and was onsite the next morning with a 7-man crew including a superintendent, a crane and all the tools needed to assemble the bridge. The first day, Thursday, was spent helping the earthworks contractor build a lock block abutment as well as receiving and organizing the components of the detour bridge.  This detour bridge was a 140’ long Acrow 700 series bridge the Ministry of Transportation kept in stock for just such an emergency. The next day, once the electrical contractor had completed the installation of the signal lights and street lights, work on the bridge began.  First the bridge layout and the construction of the bridge launch roller stations was undertaken.  Once the rolling stations were complete Johnston Construction started assembling the bridge components with the help of a representative from Acrow, some additional personnel from Mainroad’s bridge crew and a Ministry Representative.
The third day, Saturday, was spent assembling more of the bridge and pushing completed sections out over the creek in the  -18 degree temperatures. The assembly of the 140’ temporary bridge was completed on the fourth day, Sunday, and was prepared for the crane-assisted launch.  The crane arrived mid-day and started setting up for the launch which was planned for day five. The morning of day five, Monday, was spent completing final preparations for the launch.  The bridge was then launched over the creek and jacked down onto the abutments without incident and work on the bridge guardrails and the approaches began. Work continued late into the night and shortly after midnight the bridge rails were complete and the structure was ready for traffic.  The earthworks contractor completed the approaches in the early morning as well so by the morning of the sixth day the bridge was on schedule for the opening which was planned for noon.  Mainroad’s crews were onsite in the morning installing signs and preparing traffic control to switch traffic onto the new bridge. From the time the bridge was struck until the temporary bridge was installed a total of 1 week, 1 day and 1 hour elapsed!

About this Project

Emergency Bridge launch
Type: New Bridge Construction
Location: Fairmont, BC
Principal Client: Mainroad East Kootenay Ltd. / BC Ministry of Transportation
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