'Lego Bridges' Saving Time and Money

'Lego Bridges' Saving Time and Money

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Jed Boal ReportingThis summer you'll get a look at a new bridge building technique on freeways the state says will save time and money.

It's construction season across the state. This is one of the big jobs on the east side of I-215, crews will rebuild two bridges using an innovative method.

If you drive I-215 on the east side, think about alternate routes.

Bridge reconstruction has begun and could start slowing traffic this weekend. Crews will replace the bridges at 3900 South and 3760 South using so-called "lego bridges”, or pre-fabricated bridges.

Brent Wilhite, UDOT: “We build the parts off-site. Then we bring a big crane in that hauls the pieces into place."

Construction crews will use beams to build the bridge panels over in a separate area. When they're done, they'll put them in place up on the interstate.

Brent Wilhite: “This is an innovative technique never been done in Utah."

They'll use a different technique for the bridge at 3900 South. Crews will demolish the deck, but keep the beams. Panels being poured in North Salt Lake will fit into place and form the new bridge surface.

This technique was successful in several other states and cuts construction time in half, which limits the money lost to the public in long delays.

The lego bridges take 70 days to build compared to 140 days. That means fewer delays for drivers, an estimated savings to the public of more than two million dollars in this project alone.

It’s also a lot safer for the construction crews.

Brent Wilhite: “They're not pouring concrete, they're not working while motorists are flying by at 65 miles per hour."

UDOT tells us there's only one crane that can lift the massive bridge panels into place; that will be quite a sight when the time comes this summer. The entire project should be complete by the end of August.

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