Some of the largest pre-stressed concrete girders in the U.S. have been coming out of a manufacturing yard in Spokane in recent weeks.
The 186-foot-long girders are being used for a county road bridge in the Touchet area of Walla Walla County.
They are the work of Central Pre-Mix Prestress Co. at 922 N. Carnahan Road, and are the longest girders ever cast by the company.
General Manager Chuck Prussack said he believes they are the third-longest in Washington and probably in the top 10 in size for the entire U.S.
Each girder contains 70 strands of steel, and each strand is stretched, or stressed, with 44,000 pounds of force for a total of three million pounds. The concrete is poured into the forms and then bonds to the strands.
The compressive stress in the strands adds strength to the girder.
About 20 people worked on the project.
The girders are being hauled from Spokane to Walla Walla by trucks equipped with steering trailers. The trailers are guided by a trailer driver seated inside a small cabin between the load and the pavement.
At 190,000 pounds apiece, the girders are “so heavy only a few pieces of equipment in the state can be used” for the move, Prussack said.
The general contractor on the job is Apollo Inc., of Kennewick. The bridge was designed by Sargent Engineers in Olympia.
July Fourth traffic
AAA expects July Fourth holiday traffic to match record volumes last seen in 2007.
An estimated 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the period, which runs from July 3 to 8. That represents a 4.9 percent increase from a year ago, and a 42 percent increase from 2009 when the economy had slowed.
In its survey of travelers, AAA discovered that 25 percent will depart on Friday.
The large majority of travelers – 35.5 million – will go by automobile, an increase of 4 percent over last year.
Airplanes will see 3.2 million leisure travelers, an increase of 9 percent. Rail, bus and cruise ship make up the remaining travel modes, and that travel will be up 10 percent.
Distances to be traveled will be way up from an average of 573 miles last year to 723 miles this year.
The predictions are based on economic factors and polling.
Red light camera funds
Fines paid by drivers caught running red lights on camera in Spokane are going to be used for projects to slow traffic and improve safety for pedestrians and bicycle riders.
The City Council last week approved a list of projects across the city.
In northeast Spokane, they are bike and parking lanes on Illinois Avenue and sidewalks in the Minnehaha neighborhood.
In south Spokane, projects are sidewalk extensions known as “bump outs” on the Maple Street corridor between Eighth and Ninth avenues and at 17th Avenue and Mount Vernon Street.
East central Spokane will get lights for the curve at Thor Street and Hartson Avenue.
Northwest Spokane will see new sidewalks on Post Street, Five Mile Road and Courtland Avenue.
The city has 15 cameras at 10 intersections capturing images of violators’ vehicles. The photo-red program began in 2008.
A dedication ceremony is planned for 1:30 p.m. Friday on Bridge Street in Sandpoint for the new Sand Creek Byway project for U.S. Highway 95.
The new and faster route through Sandpoint should open early next week, officials said.
Work is continuing on the $16 million widening of U.S. 95 from the north end of the byway to Kootenai Cutoff Road. Completion is expected in 2013. The work includes installation of a new traffic signal at Bonner Mall Way.
Sprague project slowed
A natural gas line buried only six inches deep was discovered during construction on Sprague Avenue between Evergreen and Sullivan roads.
The line will be relocated to the proper depth of three feet, but the work is going to slow reconstruction on Sprague.
Completion of the phased project is now expected in late August rather than mid-August.
Market Street closed
Market Street from Hawthorne to Peone roads will be closed starting this morning through Friday evening so workers can complete realignment of Market for the new Parksmith Road interchange.
Traffic will be detoured east to Nevada Street.
The interchange will serve the North Spokane Corridor.
Special Olympics event
A Special Olympics event known as “Over the Edge” will take over Wall Street between Sprague and Riverside avenues from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
South Hill crack sealing
City street crews will be sealing pavement cracks this week on Grove Street from 14th to Sumner avenues; Bernard Street from 14th to 29th avenues; and Lamonte Street from 37th Avenue to High Drive.
Street repair is also wrapping up on Perry Street from 29th to 37th avenues.
Street sweeping continues in residential areas.
Closing in Grant County
In Grant County, County Road 34 NE will be closed from July 16 through 27 for replacement of a short-span bridge between roads U NE and V NE.