Hurricane Harvey Emergency Bridge Repair

Humble, Texas
After water levels subsided the cleanup efforts began and life returned to normal, it was time to inspect the infrastructure and bridges in the area for any potential damage caused by the flooding.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast on August 25, 2017 bringing with it not only the strong damaging hurricane force winds but worst of all it dumped 51” of rainfall in just a few days. This is an almost unimaginable amount of rain and all area rivers, ditches, damns and dykes overflowed their banks causing mass flooding and devastation like this area has never seen before.  Waterways like the idyllic San Jacinto River which normally could be fished with waders became raging torrents carrying with it trees and debris as all this access water raced down to the Gulf of Mexico.

[UPDATE: Aggregate Technologies was awarded it’s fourth Excellence In Construction (EIC) Eagle Award from Associated Builders and Contractors for this project.]

After water levels subsided the cleanup efforts began and life returned to normal, it was time to inspect the infrastructure and bridges in the area for any potential damage caused by the flooding.  From all outward appearances the Highway 59-Interstate 69 Bridge in Humble, Texas, looked just fine other than lots of debris on the piers, columns and piles, but after a more thorough inspection it was discovered that the increased water flow and rate of speed had scoured the river bottom from around the piles. A river that used to be 15-20’ deep under the bridge was now 30-40′ feet deep, so piles that used to be well embedded into the river bottom had now less than 50% embedment.

This was a problem that needed fixing immediately so quotes were tendered for an emergency repair which would involve selectively removing the center three spans of the bridge that were directly over the river channel.  Being a major highway route leading into and out of Houston, this project was very time critical and the DOT allotted only 113 days for the bridge to be closed to traffic. When the Webber, the general contractor was awarded the project they needed a concrete cutting company that they could depend on and that they new would get the demo portion of the project done on time and on budget.  They called Aggregate Technologies. 
They knew Aggregate Technologies had a wide variety of equipment and technology, and the experienced management, staff and operators to perform all the work required to take down the required three spans from the top deck right down to the underwater cutting of the piles.  Safety, efficiency and speed were the determining factors when considering which methods and procedure to use to accomplish the different tasks for the bridge removal.

Bridge Demolition Methods

First the bridge deck was hammered into rubble which was caught on barges tethered in the river under the bridge. Then the main beams were lifted out of place and removed from the site.  That left three bents, caps, columns, footers and piles to be removed which was really nine because each bent consisted of three separate structures.  The original bridge had been widened twice, once on the outside and once on the inside, and a different design was used on each phase so there was quite a variety of piles, caps, and piers to deal with.

Aggregate Technologies wire sawed the caps and piers off first, then used the wire saw again to cut the piles under water, so the footers could be lifted off and removed.  Finally ATI operators used their hydraulic shears to cut the piles off underwater down at the mudline.

Once the first set of piers was removed new drill shafts were installed and the drilling and demo continued simultaneously until all the old structures were removed.  Like a large LEGO set the bridge was systematically rebuilt: drilled shafts, caps, beams, deck, barrier walls place, and voila! the new bridge was completed.

TX DOT had allowed for liquidated damages should the project go past the allotted time, but they also included a performance bonus for every day under the 113 day time limit up to a maximum of 10 days. Not only was the bridge completed on time and reopened to traffic but the full 10 day performance bonus was surpassed as well.

Bridge Demolition Contractor

Aggregate Technologies played an integral role in the completion of this project and was instrumental to the achievement of the early completion.  When faced with any type of concrete cutting projects, there is one company to call, Aggregate Technologies. 1-877-SLABSAW

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