Sunday, March 25, 2012

High Concrete - Capping the Pier









© Stuart Pearl 2012 - Click on Images to Enlarge

Nearly twenty stories up these construction workers don't have time to appreciate the Cleveland skyline.  They are pouring the cap on Pier 5 of the new Innerbelt Bridge. 

Using a hydraulic system they are pumping concrete up into the form that will create the top of the bridge pier.  They must carefully work the concrete into a maze of reinforcing rebar, kneeding and tamping the concrete like a baker, to insure that no air pockets form.  This would weaken cure.

Pier 5 rises from the east bank of the Flats right next to the Cuyahoga.  It's cap is similar to others and will require about 110 truck loads of concrete to fill.  That is 1100 cubic yards.  The black "skirt" hanging from the top cap is an insulation blanket.  It helps the concrete to dry and cure more evenly.
Whenever possible the rebar structures are assembled on the ground.  It's safer and faster to do it this way.  Cranes lift them into the forms.  The workers then anchor them in place and concrete is pumped throughout the structure. 


An extensive array of pipes snakes its way throughout the rebar.  As the concrete is pumped into the form, these pipes will become submerged in that "mud."  Cool water will begin flowing to keep the concrete from getting too hot during the curing process.  After approximately ten days the forms are disassembled and carefully lowered to the ground.








In this picture the Norfolk & Southern railway trestle crosses the river into Tremont on the west bank.  It passes the area previously occupied by Cleveland Cold Storage.

This early morning shot from the west bank shows the hydraulic pump arm injecting concrete into Pier 5.