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Photo essay: Night life at the Fillmore interchange - how those 90-ton girders got installed

       In overnight operations July 12 and 13, SEMA Construction installed the six girders for the new south bridge at the Fillmore/I-25 interchange.
       To allow the work, the interstate and Fillmore Street were shut down both nights between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Four girders were placed the night of July 12 and the other two July 13.
       The girder placement is a milestone in the $15.1 million Fillmore interchange replacement project, which is due for completion in the summer of 2016.
       Plum Creek Structures, a manufacturer in Littleton, fabricated the girders. Each was transported to the job site on its own semi-tractor/trailer.
       Westside Pioneer Editor Kenyon Jordan (wearing a mandatory hard hat and construction vest) went to the job site the night of July 12 to photograph the placement of the first two girders. Representative shots with captions appear below.
       Note: Facts about the girder installation (as well as related technical terminology) came from an interview with Ted Tjerandsen (pronounced CHAIR-and-sen) of project consultant Wilson & Company.
Two giant telescoping cranes - one sitting on the freeway below, the other on a flat area just west of the existing bridge, synchronize to lift a 90-ton, 110-foot-long girder onto previously built abutments for the new south bridge at the Fillmore/I-25 interchange around midnight July 12. The semi-tractor/trailer that transported the girder can be seen parked on the old Fillmore Street bridge. The girder, the first of the six to be placed, spans the southbound lanes between the west and center abutments. The red blocks on the back of the freeway crane (opposite its telescoping boom) are counterweights that keep the crane from toppling over while lifting the girder.
LEFT: Two SEMA Construction workers adjust the final placement of the first girder at the end that will rest on the center abutment. The girder is still being held slightly aloft by the cranes (not shown). The green rebar on the abutment will later help stabilize the concrete to be poured for the bridge deck, as will the thin red "pre-stressing strands," as they're called, that run the length of the girder. RIGHT: Standing atop the second girder before its placement, workers secure its attachment to the crane's sling apparatus. The horseshoe-like green metal pieces sticking out from the top of the girder are also there to help with stability when the bridge deck concrete is poured.
In a view from the area just west of the current Fillmore/I-25 bridge, the second of the six girders for the south bridge is lifted over the first girder (see photos above) and into place just beyond it. The hoisting gear at the near end belongs to the crane in foreground right while the farther crane and its apparatus can be seen at the girder's far end. The trailer on which the girder had been sitting is at far left, marked "oversize load."
LEFT: A worker positions a counterweight as it's being off-loaded from the trailer of a semi. It took six separate trailer deliveries to provide the necessary 100 tons worth of counterweights (roughly 50 tons for each crane). In the background are the existing Fillmore bridge (upper right) and the second crane (upper left), which was situated just west of the bridge. RIGHT: Workers connect heavy-duty nylon slings (black-encased, lying on the I- 25 pavement) to thick metal shackles attached to a triangle-shaped "spreader bar." The set-up allows the slings to hang straight down from the bar to either side of the girder as it's being picked up.
LEFT: Workers team up on the final alignment of the second girder onto the west abutment. The already-installed first girder can be seen behind it. RIGHT: In an earlier shot, the first girder sits on the trailer of the semi that delivered it, waiting to be set in place. The rig is parked on the Fillmore Street bridge over I-25. The view is west up Fillmore, which was closed at the interchange for the night.
A winding line of headlights in the night approach the northbound I-25 off-ramp at the Fillmore/I-25 interchange. Because of the girder operation, through traffic on the interstate was directed to the off-ramp, then across Fillmore to the on-ramp and back onto the freeway past the bridge. This went on for both directions from about 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. both July 12 and 13. Other such closures are anticipated at times during the Fillmore project, with the next one possible in late July for the south bridge's concrete deck pour.
On July 14, after the girder installation work July 12-13 at Fillmore/I-25, the new spans can be seen in a view east from the area of the Waffle House parking lot along Fillmore Street. The three girders nearest the camera extend between the west and center abutments; the three farther girders extend from the center to the east abutment.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 7/14/15; Transportation: Fillmore/I-25)

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