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Dakota Evans Tackles Major Bridge Project in South Suburbs

Dakota Evans Bridge Project

The professional tuck pointing and restoration company handled a project that involved replacing deteriorated steel, sandblasting and re-coating the bridge, while ensuring the safety of workers.

Dakota Evans continues to expertly handle large scale projects for multi-family housing communities, hospitals, private universities and commercial buildings in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.

In early September, the company completed a nearly two-month bridge project in Harvey, Illinois that involved removing and replacing deteriorated steel, along with sandblasting the structure prior to refinishing its surface.

The bridge, which was 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, required total refinishing because it had not been coated for nearly four decades. The surge (of water) below the bridge is used to transport finished materials from one end of the complex to a one million square foot production facility on the other side of it.

To start the project out, planners at Dakota Evans determined how best to build a structure made of pipe scaffolding and plywood, so that workers had a place to complete their tasks on the underside of the bridge.

Safety also was a major concern. The steel had to be sandblasted, and debris would most likely land in the water below without a plan to capture it, in addition to causing breathing hazards for workers. Personal protection equipment including goggles, gloves and helmets were required, by Dakota Evans, while a fresh oxygen supply was pumped into the workers’ helmets. The area was enclosed so that debris would not escape into the water.

Only a handful of workers could be on the project at any given time, and they had to be spaced out due to a five foot clearance in the confined work area. A laborer continually removed debris that measured roughly 40,000 pounds at the project’s conclusion.

Inspection, Replacement, Sandblasting and Complete Refinishing
At the start of the project, the steel had to be inspected by structural engineers to check the integrity of the structure. Steel beams, supports and fasteners that had deteriorated were cut out and replaced, prior to the coating of the bridge.

The coating work involved removing the outer layers of the steel through sandblasting and grinding, including the bottom side which was sandblasted to the bare metal. The entire bridge had to be primed and all structural steel received a zinc-rich inhibitor primer coating, following by an intermediate coat of two-part epoxy. A top coat of urethane to protect the epoxy from UV rays and retain its color also was applied.

During the sandblasting, the challenge was moving the heavy material, and to ensure the work area didn’t get overloaded by its weight. To accomplish this, laborers continually removed debris on a daily basis. Clean-up was a massive part of the entire project.

According to Sam Miceli, who led the coating and refinishing portion of the project, with proper maintenance, the bridge coating should last around 25 years if periodic touch-ups and repairs are made, as needed.

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Check back next month on the Dakota Evans blog, as we profile the restoration of an art museum designed by world renowned architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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