Ironworkers News Archive

2018  |  2019

Susquehanna Thruway Bridge Project - (11/27/2019)

At nearly a mile long, the Central Valley Susquehanna Thruway (CVST) Bridge will connect Route 15 in Wynfield to Route 147 in Montandon. The entire construction project, when completed, will also provide highway access between Selinsgrove and Williamsport, bypassing the populated, commercial areas of Hummels Wharf, Shamokin Dam and Lewisburg. Bringing this bridge to life demands the work of a successful team of ironworkers and operators. According to Century Steel Erectors superintendent/project manager Keven Ritchie, the bridge operation requires 16 ironworkers (including himself) and four operators, utilizing multiple cranes and a forklift. Together, these craftsmen are tackling the 4,454-foot CVST bridge that will span over the West branch of the Susquehanna River at a peak elevation of 180 feet.

The bridge itself is eight girders wide, with each truss being 10-foot-deep and 253 feet to 350 feet in length. The girders are built on the ground in a long span section that runs roughly 220 feet. The crew then works to splice together each new span in the air using two LR1400 rigs. Once spliced, one rig holds the long span while a second rig is cut loose. Next, a smaller section is lifted to again be joined mid-air. These girders are place over the top of a pier, correlating to approximately 140 tons of metal hanging in the air. Approximately eight sections are spliced together in a day.

This massive project commands strong lines of communication and trust between Ritchie and the crew. On this particular project, Ritchie already knew a portion of his workforce. Half of the Ironworkers are boomers who have worked with him for many years, while the other half are from Ironworkers Local 404. Even though it is his first time working with Local 404, he says you wouldn’t know it. As expected, the Ironworkers from Local 404 are skilled, hard-working and efficient craftsmen. And while a project of this size and scope is not customary work for these Ironworkers, the members of Local 404 didn’t hesitate with any element of the work required on the job.  

According to Ritchie, all members (including the two apprentices on the job) quickly and easily assimilated into working alongside their counterparts who have done this type of bridge work all over the country. Ritchie even describes the project as one of the best he has worked on because of it. The entire crew cohesively works together, creating a reliable team, ready to tackle anything. “When you are in a good working environment, it’s not so much like working anymore. You come out, you work all day, and everybody gets along. Issues (if any) are few.” According to Ritchie, the Ironworkers from Local 404 have been a great group to work with, and the true testament is the trust everyone has on the job site. Their training, work ethic and professionalism have made the project a success to date. 

The CVST Bridge is expected to welcome drivers in 2020 and the complete Thruway Project is anticipated to be done in 2028. 

    


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