Heavy Equipment Moving In for Carmageddon

Workers will have only 53 hours to get the work done, which means the planning and moving of machinery for this massive 405 shutdown must be very carefully orchestrated

By Olga Spilewsky and Ted Chen
|  Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011  |  Updated 7:10 PM PDT
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Heavy Equipment Moving In for Carmageddon

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Two more days until the dreaded “Carmageddon”.

Workers will have only 53 hours to get the work done, which means the planning and moving of machinery for this massive 405 shutdown must be very carefully orchestrated.

Many may have already seen all the heavy equipment in place, but a lot more will arrive in the next 72 hours before what officials describe as one of the biggest highway projects ever undertaken.

“This is one of the largest endeavors we’re going to have going here in Southern California in a planned event,” said MTA Highway Director Doug Failing.

The goal of the project is to safely demolish the southern half of the Mulholland Bridge over the 405 Freeway. 100 demolition workers will use 14 light plants and 20 heavy equipment pieces. There will be rolling jackhammers, long-handled torches, and a diamond-bladed saw, which will slice the Mulholland bridge down the middle.

“The first job is to cut the bridge in half lengthwise separating that piece that’s going to remain on the north half of the bridge from the southern half of the bridge,” said Failing.

Next, the jackhammers will come in to literally chip away the bridge's concrete. Pieces, the size of basketballs or larger, will fall directly onto the 405. That is why workers will pour four feet of sand on the freeway to cushion the fall.

”As the pieces of concrete fall from this large depth, if we don’t have something down to dissipate the energy, it can actually damage the pavement underneath,” said Failing.

Protecting the integrity of the remaining half of the bridge will also be critical.
Cutting the bridge with the saw shields the remaining half of the bridge from vibrations that could disrupt it.

“The half of the bridge that’s going to remain needs to remain structurally sound, creating the air gap with the saw cutting, “ adds Failing. It’s all meant for protection, he says.

The demolition and work is set to end at 2 AM Monday morning. Then, the clean-up begins. If all goes well, “Carmageddon” should be over at 5 AM that morning when the 405 is scheduled to re-open.
 

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