Bridge demolition wins trade award

STEUBENVILLE – The contractor for the demolition of the Fort Steuben Bridge has received a national trade award for the $2.3 million project.

The Joseph B. Fay Co. of Russellton, Pa., is one of 17 contractors from throughout the U.S. to receive the Associated General Contractors of America’s Alliant Build America Award.

Based in Washington, D.C., the AGCA represents nearly 30,000 general and specialty contractors and construction service providers and suppliers. Each year it presents the Alliant Build America Award to construction projects it deems significant for their complexity, use of innovative construction techniques and client satisfaction, among other criteria, according to the group.

Joseph H. Jarboe, the association’s president, said, “These projects are shining examples of the construction industry at its finest, demonstrating tremendous skill, hard work and steadfast determination. The winners are setting the standard by which all construction projects should be judged.”

Prior to the blast remembered by many area residents, crews with the Joseph B. Fay Co. removed the span’s 1,225-foot deck in 10-foot sections.

The 84-year-old suspension bridge was closed in 2009 by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which cited deteriorating conditions, costs to rehabilitate and maintain it and decreased use since its weight limit was lowered to prohibit heavy trucks.

On Feb. 21, crews with Controlled Demolition Inc. of Phoenix, Md., a subcontractor working under Joseph B. Fay, imploded the span through a series of detonations within milliseconds of each other, creating the impression to the many observers that the entire bridge exploded at once.

First the truss dropped from the suspension cables, followed by the main cable.

Pieces of the bridge, some weighing as much as 120,000 pounds, were lifted from the Ohio River by crane and loaded onto barges as crews worked to meet the Coast Guard’s requirement that everything be removed within 24 hours.

As a precaution, the Ohio River within 1,000 feet of the span, as well as the Veterans Memorial Bridge and state Route 7, had been closed for the blast.

AGCA officials noted the crews worked quickly, allowing the channel to be reopened 12 hours ahead of schedule.

They noted the company also removed pier columns and abutments, installed a barrier wall and removed the ramp removal by the agreed upon deadline.