Heavy Bridge is responsible for the maintenance, repair and inspection of 62 of the largest bridges in the State. This includes all the structures over the Mississippi River between Arkansas and adjacent States, and over the Arkansas River in the State. The asset value of these 62 bridges is over 1 billion dollars.
The section is supervised by the Heavy Bridge Maintenance Engineer and is composed of the following:
-Staff Heavy Bridge Maintenance Engineer who is responsible for repair design and details, maintenance contract development such as bridge paint contracts, Request For Proposals to hire Engineering firms to perform Underwater Bridge inspections.
-Heavy Bridge Maintenance Superintendent who coordinates all the crew activities and assures that the crews have the right tools and equipment to do the job. Also, does the cost accounting for bridge damage to assure reimbursement from the respective insurance companies.
-Three Bridge Repair Crews with one Supervisor and five crew members each, one Paint Crew with one Crew Leader and three crew members and one Statewide Bridge Inspection Crew with one Statewide Bridge Inspector, one Assistant Bridge Inspector, and two crew members.
Heavy Bridge Maintenance Repair Crews
Each of the three bridge repair crews specialize in welding, steel fabrication, concrete finishing and concrete forming. The main quality that might characterize a member of one of these crews is that they are builders and fixers.
The following are examples of typical bridge problems repaired by Heavy Bridge Maintenance Crews:
- Rust and holes develop on girders from salt and lack of paint.
- Potholes develop from salt corroding reinforcing steel in bridge decks.
- Failures in bridge joint armors cause dangerous situations.
- Bearings and girder ends corroding from salt water through leaking joints.
- Fatigue cracks develop as a result of high traffic volumes and poor fatigue details.
One of the major causes of repair to bridges is accident damage -- over height loads strike the girders on a bridge and cause extremely serious damage. These girders are usually repaired by heat straightening but may require complete replacement. In some cases trucks can crash into bridge piers or bents – when this happens, the crews will go into overtime – it gets that serious when the highway is closed down (especially an Interstate). This means that the crews have to be available for immediate mobilization to a bridge site with the right tools and equipment to do the job.
Heavy Bridge Maintenance is also involved in product evaluation as it relates to bridges including: joint materials, paints, concrete deck patch material, concrete deck sealing material, epoxy materials, etc.
Heavy Bridge Paint Crews
The paint crew specializes in painting Interstate highway bridges. A power washer is used to clean the existing paint surface. Then an overcoat of Calcium Sulfunate paint is applied.
Statewide Bridge Inspector
Heavy Bridge is responsible for inspecting 62 of the largest bridges in the state in accordance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards - more than half these bridges require inspection every year.
An inspection of one of these bridges can take from one to three weeks and requires such specialized equipment as an Ultrasonic Flaw Detector to inspect fracture critical bridge elements and an Aspen Aerial UB50ER Bridge Inspection Unit to reach over the side and 60’ under bridges.
NBIS Bridge Inspection Program Oversight
The bridge inspection program is essential to ensure the safety of our bridges. The results of this program are used to determine the sufficiency ratings which are used to prioritize bridge rehabilitation or replacement projects, budget planning for the administration, clearance information for Permits Section, and work-priority lists for the Bridge Maintenance Repair Crews.
Heavy Bridge Maintenance is Liaison to District 9 relating to the Peel Ferry on Bull Shoals Lake. Heavy Bridge Maintenance inspects the Ferry on a yearly basis and performs a dry dock inspection every five years.
Assist with District Bridge Repairs
When a bridge is involved in a serious accident or serious problems are found, Heavy Bridge is called upon to make an evaluation of the damage and recommend a course of action. Heavy Bridge Maintenance Crews assist the District Bridge Crews with repairs as needed.