The Antlers Bridge Replacement Project is one of the largest and most expensive structures recently built in the Northstate.
The Antlers Bridge on Interstate-5 in Lakehead is used as a primary trucking route in the west coast and the increased traffic has taken its toll on the bridge.
“It’s past its design life and has been experiencing some minor fatigue cracking and the maintenance costs have been getting higher and higher,” says Caltrans Project Manager Eric Akana.
Originally built in 1943 it had a 50 year design life, now it’s two decades beyond that and it’s starting to show its age. Caltrans Construction Engineer Shari Re and Project Manager Eric Akana say the $125 million replacement bridge will have a 100 year lifespan.
“The new one will replace it and correct some non standard curves to the south and really improve the highway for travelers,” says Akana.
Over the years the major challenges have been Mother Nature, including rain and rising water levels. The project’s contractor Tutor Perini has eight main crews on the job, working around the clock to stay on schedule.
“This year, 2013 should be a big year because of a lot of progress and the upfront effort to make things happen,” says Shari Re.
Currently they are working on the bridge deck, in total more than 13 million pounds of steel and more than 37 thousand cubic yards of concrete will be used.
“It’s being done with a balanced segmental construction method and in this section we build about ten feet of bridge at a time and a cable is installed and we stress that back to tie it back to itself. This leapfrogs back and forth and getting longer and longer on each side. Eventually these segments will go out to about half the span, and the adjacent span is doing the same thing. There’s a small gap in the middle and that gets closed off with what’s called the closure pour and it completes the span,” says Akana.
This is a major boost for the local economy, there are 95 people on the job and most of the materials are from the area.
“The aggregate is coming out of the Mountain Gate Quarry in Redding and quite a few of the workers are with the union. There is quite a bit of money spent in the local communities and with a lot of people staying here from out of town,” says Re.
This is one of the biggest jobs that Re and Akana have worked on, and they say they are just as excited as everyone else.
“It’s very fascinating, everyday there’s going to be a lot happening and a lot visually accomplished so its been very interesting and educational for me as well,” says Re.
The Antlers Bridge Replacement project is being funded with federal and state transportation dollars through the state highway operation and protection program. The bridge should be complete in 2015, but that could change depending on a variety of factors including how Mother Nature cooperates.