Giant concrete beams arrives

(Canada)  —  Motorists on Talbot Road in South Windsor this week may catch a startling sight: Enormous concrete beams as long as two school buses, a basketball court, or a blue whale.

The massive precast girders – each measuring about 27 metres (90 feet) in length – are needed for construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway.

“These are called NU girders. It’s the first time they’ve been used in Ontario for bridge construction,” said Cindy Price, spokeswoman for the Parkway Infrastructure Constructors group.

“These are certainly some of the longer ones.”

Price said 54 of the giant pieces are being delivered and placed over the next several days at the build site between Cousineau Road and Hearthwood Place on Highway 3.

Transportation of the materials began on Monday. The beams are so long that each of them require a special truck rig and an OPP escort for moving.

“They’re lifted into place by a crane,” Price noted. “We are installing them, but we are monitoring the wind very closely. Safety is always the first priority.”

Placement of one girder takes about 45 minutes, on average, under ideal weather conditions.

This phase of the Parkway project is hoped for completion this week, but Price said the work may stretch into next week as well.

Price said several hundred beams of varying lengths will be needed for the tunnel portion of the parkway. The beams being put into place this week are some of the biggest in the entire endeavor.

“The thing that’s quite ideal about this type of girder is they can have a much longer span than conventional ones,” Price said.

Price noted that the beams are locally made: They’re the product of Prestressed Systems Inc. on Walker Road.

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Motorists on Talbot Road in South Windsor this week may catch a startling sight: Enormous concrete beams as long as two school buses, a basketball court, or a blue whale.

The massive precast girders – each measuring about 27 metres (90 feet) in length – are needed for construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway.

“These are called NU girders. It’s the first time they’ve been used in Ontario for bridge construction,” said Cindy Price, spokeswoman for the Parkway Infrastructure Constructors group.

“These are certainly some of the longer ones.”
Gargantuan concrete beams await installation for the Windsor-Essex Parkway project on Oct. 29, 2012. (Nick Brancaccio / The Windsor Star)

Gargantuan concrete beams await installation for the Windsor-Essex Parkway project on Oct. 29, 2012. (Nick Brancaccio / The Windsor Star)

Price said 54 of the giant pieces are being delivered and placed over the next several days at the build site between Cousineau Road and Hearthwood Place on Highway 3.

Transportation of the materials began on Monday. The beams are so long that each of them require a special truck rig and an OPP escort for moving.
A transport truck hauls a giant concrete beam on Highway 3 on Oct. 29, 2012. (Chris Vander Doelen / The Windsor Star)

A transport truck hauls a giant concrete beam on Highway 3 on Oct. 29, 2012. (Chris Vander Doelen / The Windsor Star)

“They’re lifted into place by a crane,” Price noted. “We are installing them, but we are monitoring the wind very closely. Safety is always the first priority.”

Placement of one girder takes about 45 minutes, on average, under ideal weather conditions.

This phase of the Parkway project is hoped for completion this week, but Price said the work may stretch into next week as well.

Price said several hundred beams of varying lengths will be needed for the tunnel portion of the parkway. The beams being put into place this week are some of the biggest in the entire endeavor.

“The thing that’s quite ideal about this type of girder is they can have a much longer span than conventional ones,” Price said.

Price noted that the beams are locally made: They’re the product of Prestressed Systems Inc. on Walker Road.
Three huge concrete girders await installation for the Windsor-Essex Parkway project. Photographed Oct. 29, 2012. (Nick Brancaccio / The Windsor Star)

Three huge concrete girders await installation for the Windsor-Essex Parkway project. Photographed Oct. 29, 2012. (Nick Brancaccio / The Windsor Star)

In other Parkway construction news:

Motorists who use the E.C. Row Expressway regularly should be aware that a portion of the expressway has been reduced to a single lane in each direction until late 2014.

The affected area stretches from Matchette Road to just east of Malden Road.

There is one lane eastbound and one lane westbound, separated by temporary barriers, and the speed limit has been cut to 80 km/h.

The restriction officially began Monday.

According to the parkway constructors, the measure is necessary to build Bridge 3 at Matchette Road, do the earth-moving related to the structure, and prepare an embankment for an extension to Highway 401.

“This configuration will not exceed two years in duration,” states a public notice from the constructors.

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