A major milestone on the 15 Express Lanes project was achieved. The last of the 55 precast girders used to widen the Santa Ana River Bridge was installed mid-November 2019. Weighing in at 132 tons each and the size of a blue whale, these girders were transported at night over the past several months. Crews will now continue to rebuild the Santa Ana River Bridge to accommodate the 15 widening.
August 2019 – A giant bridge needs giant girders. The heaviest concrete girders ever to be made in California will be “on the go” during the next few months, traveling at night between Perris and Norco for the Riverside County Transportation Commission’s Interstate 15 Express Lanes Project.
Weighing in at more than 132 tons and measuring 175feet long, 4 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall,these super-sized girders will be used to buildthe Santa Ana River Bridge, the largest of 11 bridges that crews are widening for the project.
“Although a longer girder –177 feet –has been manufactured in the past in California, we are using the heaviest girders ever made statewide for this bridge,” said Justin Wheaton of Skanska-Ames Joint Venture, the project’s design builder.
The Santa Ana River Bridge is 1,800 feet long and will be supported by 55 girders, all of which are making a three-hour trek with CHP escorts from Oldcastle Infrastructure in Perris, where crews are fabricating the girders.
“It’s exciting that Oldcastle Infrastructure, which is based in the City of Perris, is playing an important role in the construction of this regional project,” said RCTC Commissioner and Perris Mayor Michael Vargas.
Using precast girders –those that are manufactured off-site –has several benefits:
- Saves severalmonths of construction time
- Reduces costs by eliminating the need to build a temporary bridge support structure
- Allows crews to work on the bridge from above, avoiding sensitive riverbed habitat
The girders will trave lfrom Perris using southbound Interstate 215, westbound Murrieta Hot Springs Road, and northbound Interstate 15 to Norco, a distance of about 61miles. Because of the size of the trucks that carry the girders, the transport will occur during off-peak hours, starting at 1 a.m. Four CHP units will accompany the trucks and conduct short traffic breaks to enter I-215 and I-15. Once the girders arrive in Norco, crews will carefully position them onto the bridge with specialized cranes. Trucks will follow the reverse route back to Perris. This process will be repeated over the next 10-12 weeks until all 55 girders are delivered.
The 14-foot wheel base of the transport trucks will require the use of two lanes, so early morning drivers may experience delays and should allow extra time, especially on northbound I-15.