Down Goes the Orange Bridge-Builder

Last Thursday and Friday, the massive orange movable scaffolding system (MSS) was lowered more than 150 feet from the eastbound incline to the ground. With that, the 3.1 million-pound bridge-builder completed its more than three-year run that began in January 2016.

The orange MSS differed from the blue one on the east side of the project because it was assembled to help construct straight approaches as opposed to curved ones. The orange MSS was a little less wide and a shade shorter in length than the blue one. The orange MSS was launched first. It had more spans to help build on the west side of the project. Ultimately, the orange MSS helped construct 10 spans on the eastbound incline and 14 spans on the westbound decline, totaling 24 spans and close to 5,200 feet of combined roadway.

Like the blue MSS, the orange one will be scrapped in the coming weeks. And, like the blue one, it helped save many millions of dollars in construction costs by accelerating the building of the approach spans. Also, both MSSes were far safer options for workers. Building falsework structures for bridge spans that are up to 180 feet in the air would have presented some safety concerns.

A huge shout-out goes out to Andy Payne, the foundations & MSS superintendent for the bridge contractor, and his awesome crew. Andy and his team oversaw the assembly and work of both bridge-builders, worked through the challenges of the first deployment of these gigantic machines for bridge construction anywhere in California and likely the U.S., created a repeatable process where 250-foot approach spans were built in 4-5 weeks, and reached the end with a spotless safety record. Well done!

The video above captures the lowering of the orange MSS over a two-day span. The piece is a little less than a minute in length. As a fun variation, if you want to see the bridge-builder lowered in 4 seconds, watch this video.