Traylor is the sponsoring partner of Ship Channel Constructors (SCC), a joint venture of Traylor and Zachry Construction Corporation working on the Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge Replacement project outside of Houston, Texas. The team is building new twin landmark cable-stayed bridges across the channel while maintaining traffic on the busy water- and roadways along the alignment. The new bridges remove foundations from the waterway and will prompt the widening and deepening of the channel to make way for supertankers and mega vessels, advancing the shipping industry in Harris County.
The new southbound bridge will be constructed first, adjacent to the existing bridge to the west. The design of the uniquely shaped main span structures has prompted innovations in construction, and the team is applying lessons learned from previous cable-stayed bridge projects. The rebar for each jump is on the critical path—especially because of the complications created by the curved design—so the cages are being pre-tied in advance in designated areas next to the towers. The jump forms for the cast-in-place concrete were custom designed to accommodate, once again, the curved design of the towers.
Measuring 82 feet wide, 12 feet tall, 9 feet 3 inches long, and weighing more than 140 tons, the 556 main span segments are among the largest Traylor has cast. The segments have a slender, efficient design, meaning that the amount of concrete used has been minimized to the largest extent possible. Long line casting is under way; up to 14 segments can be cast in one mold. Once operations are fully under way, the team expects to achieve a three-day casting cycle.
Girder setting along the north approach bridges is occurring at a rate of one span per week. Along the south alignment, drilled shafts are in progress; they range from 42 to 120 inches in diameter and are up to 250 feet deep. The area is crowded, with an active Kinder Morgan plant, two railroad lines, and multiple utilities. The team is actively coordinating with the various entities, has skewed some of the bents to avoid conflicts, and has temporarily skipped over some columns in their efforts to keep things running smoothly and without impact.