Thursday, December 22, 2011

W.L. Jenkins Park/Cary Bayou Bridge Replacement
Red arrows mark locations of new bridges.

W. L. Jenkins Park on Crosby Cedar Bayou Road in Baytown, Texas has a new pair of beautiful green bridges spanning Cary Bayou.  Earlier this year, the 2 old bridges were removed and the many people who use the trails, and there are many, have used the lone Harris county bridge to cross Cary Bayou.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2011, I arrived at the park at 10 am on a tip from the Parks Department, as I was wont to photograph the installation.  The temperature was perfect at 57 degrees F. and I brought my mountain bike so I could rapidly drive around the park to get the best angle.  Park Planner Dustin Schubert was in attendance the whole day and we talked about the progress.

The crane and the support vehicles arrived right on time and the bridges, all 88 feet and 48,000 pounds per bridge arrived about 11:30.  In the meantime, I rode my bike close to 3 miles passing the time as the temperature slowly rose into the 60's and the clouds came and went. 

The tractor trailer rigs were so long, they couldn't get inside the park road without the back hoe tractor carrying pad after pad to the front of the park, so they could widen the road temporarily.  This took about 4 hours.  I must say the backhoe driver was a real expert throughout the long ordeal.

Now that the bridges, loaded on the long 18-wheeler trailers were inside the park, it was finally time to set up the large motor-crane.  I watched and I rode more laps with my son in law Michael Sievers and nephew Lance Marshall.
Michael Sievers and Lance Marshall
It rained the day before and the ground was soft enough that later in the day, the first 18-wheeler would have to be pulled, pushed, and cajoled into position by the expert driver of the backhoe tractor.  This looked like an impossible situation as the truck driver had to pull into the field, turn around then back up to the bayou and the truck, trailer, and bridge weighed close to 80,000 pounds, but just as the sun set, they finally had the first bridge in position.

The crane operator knew exactly what he was doing - his mother Maria told me he did, as she was there earlier and we chatted.  When the lift, which appeared to be almost impossible, began, He placed it flawlessly on the cement stanchions in less than 10 minutes.

This was at 6:55 pm and as the Parks planner and I shook hands, he told me if it didn't rain, which it most certainly will, they should have the second bridge in by 2:30am.   Update!  They did it!
Second bride added late at night.


Anonymous said...

Wow can't wait till time change and I can walk it after work and it be daylight. BD

Anonymous said...

They need a geocache(here). PJ

Anonymous said...

Good job covering the bridge, let us know if they got the second one set. GE

Anonymous said...

Bert – isn’t that bridge awesome? I love it, and glad you saw it too. To you and your family, I wish a most joyous and blessed holiday season. Merry Christmas.

Kevin G. Troller
Assistant City Manager
City of Baytown

Anonymous said...

Bert, I’m sure you know by now that the second bridge was set in place right at 2 am. I didn’t stick around any longer, and I hope they got the crane out before the bottom dropped out of the sky. Your right, that crane operator was really good. We have a messed up and rutted up park, but we will get that fixed.

The crews will be working on the bridge/trail connections soon. We will also either asphalt or pour concrete for the bridge walking surface (the bridge surface was a lot different than we expected, but they were rail cars at one time).

Thanks for your report, and I apologize for missing the time so badly, I think if it could go wrong yesterday, it went wrong. But, the contractor was very resourceful. And Dustin did a great job too.

Scott Johnson
Parks Superintendent
City of Baytown

Anonymous said...

One bridge was horrible. It was all twisted to one side. It was like walking on a wall! JM

It can only happen while shopping!

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