Bridge pounding stops — briefly

Posted: Sunday, December 04, 2005

Piling driving for the center support of the Kenai River bridge being built in Soldotna was expected to be finished this weekend, giving area residents a reprieve from constant pounding they’ve been hearing the past few months.

Scott Harter, project manager for Wilder Construction, said 114 “H” piles were driven 32 feet into the ground for the bridge’s center support.

Once the ends are cut off the 55-foot long pilings, forms are erected and reinforcement bars are placed, concrete will be poured for the center pier footer.

“We will have to wait for a break in these temperatures,” Harter said Friday, referring to subzero temperatures last week.

“We need about 20 or 30 degrees to pour (concrete),” he said.

He said he hopes to have the concrete poured by mid-December.

The footer for the center pier, which will be 92 feet by 24 feet and 5 feet thick, will require 440 cubic yards of concrete.

From the footer, the center pier comes up and has a hammer head, Harter said.

The pier and head cap will require an additional 600 cubic yards of concrete.

All the work on the center pier is expected to be completed this winter, including removal of the coffer dam, which has given workers a dry hole in which to work, removing the old bridge center support and beginning construction of the new pier.

“Then we’ll move over to the north side,” Harter said

Twenty-three more pilings will need to be driven in on that side of the river for the Soldotna side abutment.

“That will be more like March,” Harter said.

The bridge is expected to open in August.

During a Soldotna City Council meeting last week, Mayor Dave Carey suggested planning a community party on the bridge the night before it is officially opened to traffic.

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