3/22/2013 7:59:00 AM Hell Canyon repair wraps up; work on Del Rio, Big Chino bridges up next
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Vehicles drive over Hell Canyon bridge north of Paulden Thursday afternoon. The Arizona Department of Transportationís repairs to the bridge will be completed Saturday, opening both lanes up for traffic.
In a final step, crews were expected to apply a coat of epoxy and aggregate to the bridge deck today, effectively completing the project that got under way on March 4.
The repair became necessary after the deck of the bridge developed a hole Jan. 19. ADOT crews patched the area with steel plates, but determined that a more permanent fix was needed.
The contract with Lawrence Construction of Phoenix included removing and replacing deteriorating concrete from the bridge deck, installing support beams, removing and replacing the deck-joint as-sembly at the north end, sealing the bridge deck, and re-striping the road.
The bridge, which is 13 miles north of Chino Valley, carries about 3,400 vehicles per day and is located on the only north-south corridor linking the Prescott area with Interstate 40.
Under an expedited schedule, ADOT required the work to continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This week, ADOT District Engineer Alvin Stump said the project had gone smoothly and would be done about a week ahead of the anticipated completion date at the end of March.
The repair was an intermediate step, prior to ADOT's plans to completely replace the 59-year-old Hell Canyon bridge in fiscal year 2015.
Meanwhile, two bridges south of Hell Canyon are expected to see extensive construction this summer.
bid this spring for replacement of the Del Rio and Big Chino bridges on Highway 89, south of Paulden.
The two bridges are about three miles apart, and the state plans to combine the replacements in one contract. ADOT anticipates a nine-month construction schedule, Stump said, with work occurring on the two bridges simultaneously. That raised a question among CYMPO board members about the impact the two construction projects would have on Highway 89 traffic.
Deputy State Engineer Dallas Hammit, a member of the CYMPO Board, noted that "one of the advantages of doing the bridges together is that we do see some savings."
Stump later explained that ADOT plans to maintain two-way traffic at the Del Rio bridge by building a temporary detour road around the construction site.
That will not be possible at the Big Chino bridge, Stump said, because of the wetter conditions. Instead, the bridge work will take place in two phases - with traffic narrowed to just one lane of traffic in the first phase, and returned to two-way traffic in the second phase.
Construction on the two bridge replacements should get under way by about late summer, Stump said. The cost of the Del Rio reconstruction is estimated at $3 million, while the Big Chino project is estimated at $2.4 million.
Both bridges date back to 1967, and need updating, Stump said, adding that the project includes widening the bridges from 32 feet to 46 feet.