3/6/2013 9:10:00 AM ADOT begins work on Hell Canyon bridge
Review/Matt Santos Workers unloaded equipment Monday morning in preparation for repairs on Hell Canyon bridge north of Chino Valley. Warning signs for the Hell Canyon repair project give drivers plenty of notice. Delays are expected through March 18.
ADOT announced this past Friday that crews with Lawrence Construction of Phoenix would begin the repairs on Monday, and are expected to complete the project before the end of March.
The repair became necessary after the deck of the bridge developed a hole on Jan. 19. ADOT crews patched the area with steel plates, but determined that a more permanent fix was needed.
The bridge, which is located
13 miles north of Chino Valley,
carries about 3,400 vehicles per day and is the only north-south corridor linking the Prescott area with Interstate 40.
In early February, the Arizona State Transportation Board approved spending as much as $1 million on the repairs, and ADOT officials said the cost likely would run between $500,000 and $1 million.
ADOT advertised the project in mid-February and opened the bids this past week. The bid from Lawrence Construction came in considerably lower than the $500,000 estimate for the job, ADOT Public Information Officer Dustin Krugel said.
Repairs on the 600-foot-long bridge will include removing and replacing deteriorating concrete from the bridge deck, installing support beams, removing and replacing the deck-joint assembly at the north end, sealing the entire bridge deck, and re-striping the road.
During construction, Highway 89 will be narrowed to one nine-foot-wide lane, with a temporary traffic signal at both ends to direct the one-way traffic. ADOT will reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, and the department is cautioning drivers that delays could run as long as 30 minutes.
"Drivers should use extreme caution when workers are present on the bridge," an ADOT news release stated.
The traffic restrictions will continue for seven days a week, 24 hours a day until the project is complete.
Because of the narrow width of the remaining lane, ADOT will prohibit oversized vehicles (heavy trucks) from traveling through the work zone.
Meanwhile, detour routes have been identified for oversized vehicles on Interstate 17 and Highway 93.
Krugel said ADOT's community relations department has been working to get the work out to truckers about the detours.
In addition, ADOT will install five message boards on the highways that approach Highway 89. On Interstate 40, message boards will be located east and west of the exit for Highway 89, with another on southbound Highway 89, about one mile south of I-40
Message boards also will be located on northbound Highway 89, just north of the Highway 71 junction, and on northbound Highway 89, north of Road 5 North.
ADOT officials say the pending repair is an "intermediate" step, prior to the eventual replacement of the 59-year-old Hell Canyon bridge.
Krugel has noted that a project assessment is currently under way on a complete bridge replacement, and the design for a wider, more modern bridge should begin this summer.
The design will cost about $1.1 million, and the bridge replacement is estimated at $18.5 million. ADOT's proposed five-year plan recommends replacing the bridge in fiscal year 2015.