Hardman Construction was selected as the low bidder for a unique bridge project consisting of two different locations across the state. In July of 2016 Hardman mobilized to M-86 over the Prairie River in Centerville Michigan. The project consisted of removing a historic steel truss bridge built in the early 1900’s and building a new bridge in its place. The truss was disassembled piece by piece and moved across the state to Ecorse, Michigan. The new bridge consisted of a single span of carbon fiber prestressed beams sitting on driven pipe piles and poured in place abutments. The challenging schedule pushed the team to complete the first stage of the project and successfully open to traffic in November of 2016.
The dissembled historic truss was sand blasted and painted in Ecorse during the winter of 2016. In the spring of 2017, Hardman mobilized to an existing bridge on Crystal Springs Street over the Dowagiac River in Dowagiac, Michigan. The team removed the existing single span bridge. The truss sections were then moved to Crystal Springs Street where each piece was riveted back together. A conventional formed concrete deck was poured over the restored historic truss. Even though the project experienced to an unknown subsurface condition involving artesian water conditions, the project was successfully built and opened to traffic in the summer of 2018.
Hardman Construction completed the M-15 Bridge project in Vassar, Michigan. Hardman Construction was the prime contractor and MDOT the owner on the project, which included the removal of the existing bridge and construction of the new structure, all while maintaining traffic on one side of the bridge at a time. Built in 1938, the former bridge was a 165’ long, three-span structure that carried two lanes of traffic through downtown Vassar. Both of its abutments and piers sat on spread footings. The new structure is a 214’ long, three-span bridge that carries two lanes of traffic. The three spans crossing the river are made up of 25” steel beams which sit on both fixed and rocker bearings. The 48’ long approaches consist of 21” pre-stressed box beams which increases the total length to 310’. The project was built as a part-width bridge project. By staging it as such, it allowed motorists to cross the bridge on one side while removing and replacing the other half. Temporary traffic signals were installed at each end of the bridge to allow for safe traffic flow from each direction in the single lane. In order for construction traffic to access the pier work in the river, temporary causeways were built from each side of the river’s bank out to the closest pier in the river. These temporary causeways are built by placing layers of geotextile material on the river bottom. Rows of flexible, intermediate bulk container bags (FIBC bags) filled with clean, washed stone are placed along the causeway’s edges, and a 12’ deep turbidity curtain is wrapped along the edges to contain any sediments from entering the river. The inside of the causeway is then filled with additional clean, washed stone. Each abutment and pier sits on four 5′ diameter drilled shafts drilled down from 15’ to 23’ into the bedrock for a total length of approximately 62’. Each shaft is Cross Hole-Sonic Tested (SCL) to verify that the entire length of the shaft is free from anomalies. The structural steel beams sit on both fixed and rocker bearings. Each of the seven beam lines across the width of the bridge consists of two beams across the three spans, both with lengths of 98’ and 112’. Portions of the existing steel bridge railing were salvaged and used on the new bridge. The project started in the fall 2014 and completed in the fall of 2015.
The M231 over Grand River bridge built, by Hardman Construction, Inc. from 2012-2014, is the sixth largest bridge in Michigan. It consists of five units separated by modular joints, 15 piers with cofferdams, and two abutments. The river unit cofferdams were 35’ to 50’ below the river bed and were built with two retaining rings. Pier 8 was built entirely from barges in the river during the height of the navigation season between May and July, so close coordination with the Coast Guard and local mariners was necessary at all times. Steel erection began in January 2013 and completed in October of 2013, with no break in work throughout the winter. Steel beams were manufactured by Veritas Steel in Waukesha, WI and trucked to the site. Major coordination was necessary between the supplier, contractor, and MDOT due to the sequencing of the girders and the tight quarters onsite. The bridge encompasses a very small footprint due to wetland restrictions imposed by the DEQ and the need to maintain an open channel in the Grand River. MDOT added a Complex Steel Erection plan that was omitted from the contract in error, however the team was able to have a steel erection plan in place in less than three months for structural steel in the river unit. Nearly 15 million pounds of structural steel were erected, 50,000 lft of piling, 13,000 cyds of substructure concrete, 8,000 cyds of superstructure concrete, and 5,000 cyds of tremie concrete.
Paramount to the structure was its aesthetics. Careful attention was paid to the engineered formwork for the fluted columns on the pier, as well as the rock texture. Custom steel forms were fabricated in the yard for the columns and bullnose piers, and test pours were conducted before pouring concrete in the field so that minor adjustments could be made to the formwork ahead of the permanent concrete placements. All concrete formwork was reviewed by a licensed engineer to avoid potential formwork failures in the field.
The piers in the river unit were expected to produce excessive heat because of the large pour size. There was potential for cracking due to differences in temperature between the core and face temperatures of these pier crash walls and pier caps. Hardman worked with a mass concrete pour specialist to develop and implement a plan to limit this differential to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature sensors were placed at specified points in the concrete and temperatures controlled with a system of manifolds and piping throughout the concrete pours. These temperatures were monitored throughout the curing period. Double layers of concrete insulating blankets were placed over the formwork and wrapped tightly to control the face layer temperature while the water pipes controlled the interior temperatures. Ten major pours were performed with no out-of-specification temperatures recorded by the data logging sensors. All pours were monitored 24 hours per day so that adjustments could be made if necessary.
Throughout construction a schedule was maintained using P6 Primavera software. Utilizing this scheduling system, it identified potential problems early and proactively manage them. One of the first areas identified was the pier protection. Due to time frames for navigation and spawning in the river, the pier dolphins as designed were not constructible. Hardman offered a Value Engineered Change Proposal to make the construction much easier, more durable, and less costly. This change saved over 30 days in the river and allowed a split with MDOT for approximately $300,000.
Hardman Construction completed the M-21 bridge project in Ada, Michigan. The M-21 bridge over the Grand River was a $12.8 million-dollar project. The owner is the Michigan Department of Transportation – MDOT. Numerous bridge projects require the installation of extensive amounts of driven H-pile and steel sheeting, especially those constructed over water. The M-21 bridge project was no exception. The project included the removal of the existing bridge, construction of the new structure and the construction of a 1,400 LF temporary bridge. The temporary bridge was built to carry traffic during the removal and replacement phases of work. The former bridge was a 500′ long, seven-span structure that carried four lanes of traffic. The new structure is a 500′ long, 6-span bridge that will carry four lanes of traffic plus a 12′ wide bicycle/pedestrian lane. The temporary bridge had to be constructed over the adjacent flood plains, which increased the total length to 1,400 LF. The temporary bridge was one of the longest temporary bridges constructed for an MDOT project. The temporary bridge portion of the project was constructed under a design build item, and all design and construction was performed by Hardman Construction. The design that proved to be the most economical to construct was a simple supported steel beam bridge bearing on a driven pile pier cap. The temporary bridge is a 27-span structure. The driven piles utilized for the temporary bridge were 16″ High Capacity H-Piles – HP16*162 that were driven up to 1,100 KIPS. The piles were driven initially with a vibratory pile hammer, and then final driving was performed with a Delmag D36-42 diesel pile hammer. Pile capacities were verifed through the PDA testing method. The removal of the former structure required six cofferdams to be constructed to isolate the removal activities from the river. The new bridge required seven cofferdams to be installed, five for the piers and two for the abutments. The pier cofferdams were 118′ long x 13′ wide and the excavation depths were 30′ below the existing river. The proposed bridge was supported by driven H-piles. The H-piles were HP 14*117 and had capacities of 600 KIPS. In total, more than 100,000 square feet of steel sheeting was installed for the project and more than 400 driven H-piles. The project started in 2010 and was completed in 2012.