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Copano Bay Bridge Pier Removal

Williams Brothers Construction contacted Bluegrass to cut four 13’ diameter concrete bridge piers below the seafloor. After completion of the new bridge spanning Copano Bay, the remaining piers of the old bridge obstructed the channel and posed a threat to maritime navigation. With the U.S. Coast Guard pushing to remove the structures and widen the channel, Bluegrass mobilized onsite within 48 hours. Aboard an equipment barge Bluegrass technicians worked with divers to devise a way to quickly and efficiently cut the large piers underwater.
 
CHALLENGE:  In a situation of limited visibility, strong currents and rough seas, the conventional method of mounting to the pier itself proved to be impossible. Divers simply could not battle the currents in order to secure a specialty bracket made for horizontally cutting structures this large.
  
SOLUTION:  Drawing on decades of experience solving problems in unpredictable conditions, Bluegrass technicians devised an alternative method  of mounting the bracket using a separate concrete anchor which could then be moved from pier to pier thus expediting the process. 
 
Once the high torque diamond wire saw was in place, Bluegrass technicians were able to cut the four 50-ton structures underwater with an average cut time of 10 hours per cut.  Supply and crane barges maneuvered into position, safely lifting the severed concrete piers for transport to shore. Bluegrass’ decades of experience and depth of knowledge about cutting structures underwater in harsh conditions resulted in a safe and successful outcome in this collaborative effort with Williams Brothers.   Watch a video of the barge-mounted saw in action.

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