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Grand Traverse County in northern Michigan had two bridges crossing the Boardman River that needed to be replaced. Since the Boardman River is a popular tourist attraction for trout fishing, staying environmentally conscious was top priority when choosing a bridge solution. Valmont U-BEAMS paired with a cast-in-place deck offer a bridge solution that was environmentally conscious while still minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency.
Many of our U-BEAMS benefits stem from the ease of construction they provide customers. Each beam is a fraction of the weight of traditional concrete beams, allowing four beams to be shipped in one standard truck. The twelve U-BEAMS required for this project arrived in three standard trucks, as opposed to traditional concrete beams, which require individual shipping on special freight. Since our U-BEAMS are so lightweight, they can be placed on ground supports near the trucks without special structures in place. This adds to the ease of unloading, storing, and placing the beams
Other benefits add to the overall efficiency of installation and maintenance of our U-BEAM™ product. Valmont Structures provided attachments for fascia jacks to allow for faster installation. Contractors were able to add these cast-in-place fascia jacks prior to putting the U-BEAMS on bridge foundations, providing more safety measures for the workers. Twelve of our U-BEAMS showed up on the morning of Tuesday, August 3. All twelve of these beams were set on a two-span structure that same morning and a single crane was able to set all twelve of the beams from the same location
By the following Thursday, August 12, the deck rebar, side forms, and metal decking were placed and ready for the cast-in-place concrete deck to be poured. With conventional concrete beams, this process would take three weeks, over twice as long. Though this project utilized a cast-in-place concrete deck, Valmont Structures also offers prefabricated decks for customers who require even quicker installation. With the cast-in place option, the deck was poured in 3 hours and had a 7 day wet cure. The prefabricated solution would eliminate the 7 days used to wait for the concrete to cure. Once the railing and guardrail were installed, the East River Road Bridge was open to traffic.
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