Stringing a Cable-Stay Strand

If you’ve driven by the Bridge Project recently, you likely saw new white-sheathed cable stays going up. One of the new bridge’s most prominent features, the cable stays attach the main-span road deck to the towers. Right now, there are 14-16 stays per tower. Ultimately, there will be 40 per tower (20 on each side) when the Bridge Project is complete.

The cable stays vary in length and diameter. The ones closer to the towers are shorter with fewer strands (45 in number). The stays that connect the farthest span will be the longest (573 feet) and include the most strands (109). If you laid all the strands together end to end, they would add up to more than 1.7 million feet in length, which is approximately 324 miles, or more than the distance between Terminal Island and Las Vegas.

In the video above, a team of workers string a single strand, unspooling it from a large wheel. A winch at the top of the tower is pulling the stay up through the sheath, seen in the upper right of the frame. Once they roll out the proper length, a crew member cuts the stay, then strips off the casing at the end to expose the metal strand inside. A coupling is placed onto the exposed end, then tightened.

Given the weight and length of the strand, two crew members maneuver the exposed metal end into a socket where it will be attached to the road deck along with all the other strands in that stay. Note how the stay becomes taut the moment it drops into place. Ultimately, by performing micro-adjustments to the tightness of each strand in each stay, the construction team will be able to reinforce each main-span segment.