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Big R Bridge comes through in a pinch at WTC site

May 13, 2010
Big R pedestrian bridge at World Trade Center build site

As New York City’s Freedom Tower starts to take shape at the site of the former World Trade Centre, Big R Bridge has been busy collaborating on a key temporary pedestrian walkway from the existing Liberty Bridge, over West Broadway, around the large construction site.

The bridge project had problems from the beginning. The original bridge contracting team was removed from the project, and the new contractor Windham Enterprises was forced into immediate action. They contacted Big R about options for an accelerated bridge construction plan using the existing foundations and other components already placed. Working with Windham, we were able find a solution, while meeting the desired delivery schedule.

Unfortunately, the project became delayed by a series of design reviews by various community groups and stakeholders. In the end, a new design from Big R Bridge was agreed upon that finished the temporary walkway with a more-appealing, translucent paneling to prevent the busy pedestrian route from becoming a construction site ‘stop-and-gawk’ platform – a community group concern.

Phase three of the project was for a 135' approach ramp and an 88' box truss. Phase two was for the wall and roof structure on the phase three structures. Oddly enough, project circumstances saw phase three ordered before phase two. With Big R’s success in meeting the accelerated demands for phase three, we were then given the green light for phases two and one, in that order, as long as an early April delivery date could be met for both of the phase one and two material. Time from order to delivery for the additional work was now going to be only seven weeks. Big R engineers and drafters worked around the clock to meet the quick deadline and had the drawings done for submittal and fabrication within a week.

Significant design and fabrication changes were also needed along the way to accommodate unforeseen issues with the previous contractor’s foundations. All of this was done while meeting the original time schedule, and pushed the determination and skill of our engineering, material acquisition, fabrication and traffic departments. In the end, everyone’s expectations were exceeded.
View of Big R's World Trade Center temporary bridge
When the structure arrived, the contractor assembled the bridge and set it in less than three hours and commented that they had previously set bridges manufactured by several other bridge manufacturers but none of them had ever fit together as well as this one had.

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Owner:New York State Department of Transportation
Consultant: Fay, Spofford & Thorndyke, LLC
Contractor: Windham Enterprises