Woodrow Wilson Bridge Heavy Lifting
In a historic feat, VSL heavy lifting equipment was used to lift two draw-span leaves weighing a combined 463 tons as part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge improvement project. Selected and utilized by the contractor, VSL equipment was employed for the mammoth lift. This particular bascule bridge – a type of drawbridge in which one or two counterweighted deck members pivot upward to allow shipping to pass underneath – is one of the largest in the world. The heavy lift was significant because a typical approach would have involved raising both pieces of the draw-span separately with floating cranes and then connecting them in the air. By using the VSL heavy lifting equipment, both sides were raised together, an approach that allowed for significant savings in terms of cost and time.
The leaves were lifted and secured by four VSL Type SLU 330 strand jacks with a peak lifting speed of almost 7 yards per hour. Twelve workers monitored the hydraulic jacks to mark the progress of the steel pieces while surveyors ensured each corner had equal distribution of weight. Once the leaves were in place, they were secured by 3,236 bolts (809 per corner).