Norfolk Southern Railway has selected The Great Lake Construction Co. to build a new bridge in Painesville, Ohio to carry rail traffic over the Grand River replacing the existing structure built in 1904. The new bridge consists of 11 spans and is 1,318 feet in length. The substructure includes 10 concrete piers founded on 7-foot diameter drilled shafts. The 26 drilled shafts are between 34 and 93 feet in depth, which includes the rock socket extending into the existing shale. The new piers are made up of 6-foot diameter columns with 8 of the piers also containing reinforced concrete struts to connect the columns. The piers are up to 71 feet in height above the top of drilled shaft elevation.
The detailed form work drawings were developed by Great Lakes’ in-house Engineering Department. After completion of the substructure, the superstructure will begin in spring of 2018. The 10-foot high steel girders will be erected in pairs with the longest spans measuring 180 feet. Two 300 ton capacity cranes will hoist the 230 ton paired girders into place. The new deck consists of precast concrete deck panels tied down to the girders. New steel walkways and inspection grating platforms will be added to the bridge for use by Norfolk Southern Railway maintenance crews. On each side of the bridge, Great Lakes will also build the 2,000-foot approaches consisting of excavation, embankment, drainage, and sub-ballast for the new track alignment across the new bridge. Norfolk Southern crews will perform the track work and cut over the existing tracks to the new alignment so that railway traffic will have access across the new bridge. Finally, the existing bridge will be demolished by Great Lakes, and the rock causeway will be removed restoring the Grand River to its natural condition by the end of 2018.
Great Lakes and Norfolk Southern Railway have enjoyed a good working relationship with both companies placing a heavy emphasis on the importance of safety and environmental protection to the river and sensitive surrounding area.