Red Wing Eisenhower Bridge of Valor
The Red Wing Eisenhower Bridge of Valor project replaced the 50+ year-old bridge over the Mississippi River between Wisconsin and Minnesota. As the only regional crossing for approximately 30 miles upstream and downstream, the bridge accommodates 13,300 vehicles traveling across per day. Zenith Tech (ZTI), a Walbec Group family company, began work in 2017, opened the new bridge in 2019, and concluded the demolition of the old bridge in 2020.
The magnitude of the project required many complex structural components including steel casing pipe over 100' in length, rebar cages made of the largest rods available, and pre-stressed girders weighing 210,000 lbs each. The three spans over the river are comprised of tub girders with a main span of 432', making it Walbec's longest bridge to date.
- Accessing the site from the Wisconsin side mandated building a 1000' long causeway, cofferdams up to 43' deep below water, and working from barges with frequent, critical-crane lifts.
- Construct the new bridge and demolish the old truss over one of the busiest rail-corridors and navigable-waterways in the upper Midwest with zero impacts to traffic. Vehicular traffic on the river crossing had to be maintained at all times.
- Swift moving high water and inclement weather well beyond historical norms stopped river work for extended durations and required constant reevaluation of plans.
- Unexpected asbestos in the existing structure delayed demolition by approximately six weeks, compressing the critical winter navigation channel closure window.
- The ZTI team worked through numerous other daily challenges including urban-highway interchange work, a temporary bridge, seven retaining walls, a box culvert, and two approach bridges - all staged with traffic.
- Every detail of the causeways, cofferdams, barges, and critical lifts was carefully engineered. The team worked with a myriad of environmental stakeholders to ensure a responsible approach.
- Setting the new steel girders required up to four cranes working in perfect concert and a 190' temporary bridge to launch span 1 girders over the bluff and railroad tracks. As many as three pieces were moved at once each up to 13-1/2’ tall and weighing in at 300,000 lbs.
- The 1,000,000 lb. existing truss section over the river channel was lowered to waiting barges by strand jacking, where it was suspended with cables held by hydraulic jacks. The remaining truss sections were dismantled piece-by-piece in a carefully engineered plan of balanced removals and bracing.
- Almost a year of schedule impacts were mitigated through continuous coordination of an aggressive schedule with Walbec's 45 subcontractor partners involved in this work.
- Walbec engineers redesigned the highway 61 temporary bridge and Wisconsin traffic staging to save $400k.