Floating Bridge Lift is Heaviest Ever in U.S.
July 14, 2021 - Mammoet and Flatiron Construction have floated and lifted the main span of the Wellsburg Bridge, which reaches across the Ohio River to connect Wellsburg, West Virginia, and Brilliant, Ohio.
It is the heaviest floating bridge lift ever done in the U.S., and the first one ever done in West Virginia, said Mammoet.
When completed, the tied-arch bridge will shorten travel time between the two communities and help improve local commerce.
Mammoet used its Mega Jack system to jack up and install the 8.5-million-lb., 830'-long bridge.
Mammoet was chosen for the job because of its expertise and experience in jacking and floating bridges.
Mammoet’s Mega Jack system minimized disturbance for river traffic, as the work could be completed in two days or less. An alternative strand-jacking method would have had the bridge hanging for at least two weeks.
Flatiron Construction opted for Mega Jacks due to increased efficiency, reduced disturbance, and a more controlled method which offered a higher level of safety.
This was the first time the Mega Jack 5200 system was used on a barge, and the first time the system of this type and capacity was used in the U.S.
Mammoet installed eight Mega Jack 5200 towers and eight 500-ton strand jacks onto four prepared barges in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began testing the system. Flatiron floated the barges to Wellsburg, where Mammoet then took over the load of the bridge on its Mega Jack system.
Mammoet jacked up the bridge with six layers of jacking beams before Flatiron floated the bridge into position. When the bridge was positioned next to the bridge piers, Mammoet jacked the bridge up again so that the span could be floated between the piers and over the bridge bearings and approach girder.
Mammoet’s tool kit consisted of 18 jacking-beam layers to cover all possible water levels. In the end, the load was jacked up 15 layers on six of the towers and 16 layers on the other two towers to account for variances in the interface beams, which were provided by others.
Next, the jack-down operation precisely positioned the bridge onto its bearings and the barges were floated away.
Mammoet’s solution allowed the bridge to be built at ground level and then safely jacked up to installation level while loaded on the barge. That reduced the amount of work at height.
Forecasted windy weather prompted the team to complete float-in and jacking in just one day instead of two, as originally scheduled.