Work on the new Port Mann Bridge crossed a major milestone this week with completion of the first phase of the new bridge on the Surrey side.
The gantry, a huge horizontal crane used to put the 90-tonne concrete bridge deck sections in place, is now being disassembled and moved to the Coquitlam side of the Fraser River.
The 700-tonne steel gantry is being moved in pieces, each 40-tonne chunk is being trucked across the existing bridge where it will be reassembled.
Sections of the gantry crane must be placed on a truck and then moved a piece at a time to the Coquitlam side of the river.
The sections are being moved at night and it’s expected to take until the end of the month before crews are ready to begin building the bridge deck on the Coquitlam side. Lane closures are in effect while the gantry is being moved.
A key challenge is overhead clearance. The trucks must be lowered to a ground clearance of just two inches so the gantry sections don’t hit the bridge superstructure above.
A total of 288 pre-cast concrete deck sections have been placed on the Surrey side of the bridge and 831 are ready to be placed on the Coquitlam side.
Transportation ministry spokesman Max Logan said it took nearly five months to build the Surrey approach of the bridge, but there are more than twice as many bridge sections to place on the north side.
“We can expect it will probably take two to three times as long to build the Coquitlam approach.”
The new 10-lane bridge is slated to open by December 2012, along with a new Highway 1 RapidBus service connecting Langley and Surrey to Burnaby.
For more info on the project and construction delays see www.pmh1project.com.