August 29, 2014 at 11:10 am

Tom Greenwood

Slide-in bridge technology allows a quicker fix

If you are fascinated by construction technology, have I got a video for you.

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s “US-131 Bridge Slide Time-Lapse” video, which can been seen above, shows the latest in bridge replacement technology being utilized by MDOT in which a new bridge is constructed next to the old span, and then slid into place.

There’s also a digital display of how the system works. Although every bridge is unique, typically, a new bridge is built on temporary beams adjacent to the existing bridge.

Traffic is diverted onto the new bridge while the old bridge is demolished. Once it has been dropped, the new structure is slowly edged into the space formerly occupied by the old bridge.

According to MDOT, the new slide technology can cut the time a bridge is out of service from months to just a couple of weeks.

Speaking of bridges, tens of thousands of Michiganians are expected to turn out for the 57th annual Mackinac Bridge Walk set to begin at 7 a.m. when Gov. Rick Snyder leads the trek across the Mighty Mac on Labor Day.

The walk begins in St. Ignace, and you can begin walking any time after the governor’s party sets out. No one will be allowed to begin the walk after 11 a.m.

The plan is to drive to St. Ignace, park your vehicle, walk the bridge and then return to St. Iggy on school buses provided by the Mackinac Bridge Authority.

Bus tickets are $5 and can be purchased on the Upper Peninsula side of the bridge. There are no portable toilets available on the bridge itself, but facilities will be available at each end of the span.

Baby strollers, working service dogs, jogging baby strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the bridge during the walk.

Not allowed are smoking, signs, banners, umbrellas, bicycles, roller skates, skateboards, wagons and similar types of devices. No running or racing is allowed except for those pre-qualified, pre-registered participants in the Governor’s Council of Physical Fitness.

If you’re younger than 18, you’ll need mom’s and dad’s permission or that of a guardian.

The Labor Day holiday weekend is upon us (where did the summer go?) and officers from 150 local police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will again step up to address drunken driving and seat belt enforcement through the weekend.

The federally funded extra patrols are part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which began Aug. 15 and will last through Monday.

During the 2013 Labor Day holiday, 10 people were killed in traffic crashes. Of those fatalities, three were alcohol related and one driver who died was not wearing his seat belt.
(313) 222-2023

New technology allows a new bridge to slide in to replace the old one. / YouTube via MDOT