News: SAME young members’ field trip provides exposure to real-life engineering
Story by Sara Goodeyon
TULSA, Okla. — It wasn’t the average field trip recently when a group of students visited a Tulsa District construction site and got to see first-hand the implementation of engineering principles they’ve learned in school.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District hosted the March meeting for the Tulsa Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) chapter and its young members at Keystone Dam where the deck and support structure of the Highway 151 Bridge over the dam is being replaced.
The group gathered in the Keystone Dam Powerhouse for a briefing about the project by Corps employees Christopher Strunk, senior structural engineer, Engineering and Construction, and Michael Nance, senior construction engineer, Tulsa Resident Office, about the progress on the project. Strunk and Nance gave an overview of the project and discussed the features and design considerations of the original superstructure and the new superstructure.
A notable feature of the replacement work is Kiewit’s use of a Gantry Crane from Equipment Fabricators, Inc., which was built on the bridge and is moved across the structure along rails that were added to each side of the bridge. The group donned all appropriate safety gear and toured the construction site to get a close-up view of the crane.
The use of this type of crane for this project is necessitated by the fracture critical nature of the existing structure; the 50-year-old bridge simply can’t sustain the weight of a traditional crane. The Gantry Crane can lift the bridge decks and then move along the rails and deposit them onto a waiting flatbed truck for removal.
Before the crane can lift these decks, a giant concrete saw called “The Beast” cuts the decks apart. The group watched as the 6-foot blade cut through the concrete deck. The blade is water cooled to contain the dust and then workers vacuum up any debris.
The trip to Keystone Dam to see the construction site for the bridge replacement offered a rare opportunity for the SAME young members to see the real-life application of engineering.