If you happen to drive over the Gerald Desmond Bridge around 3 a.m. on a weekday, you may see a caravan of vehicles transporting oversized loads. One of those vehicles is likely a flatbed truck like the one pictured that carries a 16-foot-by-30-foot concrete panel. This is a single deck panel that will fit into the steel-girder frame of the pier table (visible in the background) and road segments. There are 598 panels that will eventually factor into the construction of the main span.
The panels are transported in the early morning hours to minimize traffic impacts. Given the dimensions of the panels, a truck can only transport one panel at a time, and the caravan must drive through the construction site along Broadway (versus on Pier D Street) to ensure a clear path. The panels are staged at the base of both towers as the pier table at each one draws closer to being lifted onto the four-column falsework.
The panels are fabricated at an onsite casting yard on Pier S. At this time, more than 390 of the 598 panels (65 percent) have been built and will be systematically transported to the tower staging areas as more of the main span is constructed. In the coming months, you will see these deck panels and the structural steel of the road segments raised “into the air” as the main span over the water advances.