Versatile Clamp Helps Protect First Responders
Editor: Allison Braswell
By 2025, residents of the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area will have a more peaceful commute on the reconstructed Chain of Rocks Bridge that carries Interstate 270 over the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Madison County, IL. The nearly 60-year-old design of the existing bridge is no longer practical for emergency vehicles. Its four lanes and one-foot-wide shoulders make it a challenge for first responders to get to accidents quickly and stay safe when on the scene near passing cars. Furthermore, average daily traffic (ADT) has more than doubled in the past five decades--from 19,800 vehicles a day in 1975 to a daily 51,000 vehicles today. These factors, on top of frequently-needed repairs, have created delays for business professionals, students, emergency responders, and other daily commuters.
Thankfully, after years of planning and funding, the states of Missouri and Illinois launched the Chain of Rocks Bridge replacement project in February 2023 to address the traffic increase and overall inadequate design. Led by Walsh Contractors, the new structure will feature "twin" bridges, one on the same alignment as the current bridge and a second one directly south of it. I-270 will also be widened to six lanes instead of four, helping to ease congestion for everyone including truck drivers who depend on the interstate as a major freight hauling route.
For the bridge foundations, the Walsh crew is installing 114" (in)-diameter caissons using an ICE® 110 Vibratory Driver/Extractor. Equipped with their own ICE® caisson beam and clamps, the temporary outer casings were driven followed by the permanent inner casings that stood about eight feet above the driven outer casings. When it came time to extract the temporary pile after applying concrete and rebar, ICE® supplied two 10' (ft) extensions to extend the two clamps past the taller inner casings and reach the edges of the outer casings. The caisson clamps, however, could not be used for this task because the jaws would not fit in the narrow space between the inner casings and outer casings. The ICE® sales team offered a unique solution--to weld tabs on the outside of the outer casings and utilize the jaws of two ICE® 196C Sheeting Clamps that can open wide enough to take hold of the tabs. Two 90° Turning Plates mounted on top of the extensions helped angle the versatile sheeting clamps in the correct position to remove the outer casings.
Walsh Contractors has depended on International Construction Equipment, Inc time and time again for their pile driving needs, and sometimes for outside-the-box solutions! ICE® is grateful for their long-standing partnership with Walsh and the opportunity to take care of St. Louis' first responders who put their lives on the line every day to selflessly help others.
Pollyanna Cunningham, MA, MBA
Vice President Marketing, Brand and Media Relations
Vice President IT and IT Comm
ICE® - International Construction Equipment, Inc
Office - 704-821-8200
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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