Carefully moving 61 tons of bridge in Union Gap

by guest blogger Meagan McFadden

It takes a lot of skill and coordination to place a 44,000 pound bridge span within a quarter of an inch of its final location, in this case, above the roadway on Valley Mall Boulevard in Union Gap. Now repeat that process two more times. In all, our contractor, Apollo Inc., moved three metal spans weighing a grand total of 61 tons on June 15, 2010. That’s like moving eight elephants – what a zoo!

If you don't have access to YouTube, here is a Windows media version so you can watch the video.

Since April, our contractor has moved 48,000 yards of dirt and will place 9,000 tons of asphalt for the temporary lanes, which will be used as a detour so crews can build the new I-82 Valley Mall Boulevard interchange. We plan to shift traffic onto the temporary detour (pdf) the second week in July. Eastbound travelers on I-82 will shift to the left and use what are currently the westbound lanes. Westbound travelers on I-82 will shift over to the newly constructed temporary westbound lanes, including the temporary bridge. The eastbound on-and-off-ramps to I-82 will be temporarily detoured to N. Rudkin Road. This detour will remain in effect until this fall.

This year, construction crews will build two of the three roundabouts and build the new eastbound I-82 bridge. Next summer, construction crews will finish the third roundabout, the westbound I-82 bridge, pave the Yakima Greenway parking lot, and finish widening lanes on Main Street.

Once the back-hoes, dump trucks, asphalt trucks, and orange cones are gone, and the construction crews have packed up and left in fall of 2011, drivers will have a new and improved interchange. This project will change how the on-ramps and off-ramps connect to Valley Mall, three new roundabouts at the new intersections will decrease delay and congestion, and two new, wider bridges on I-82 will accommodate future widening of I-82.