Keystone Bridge construction starts again this week

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Elkader’s Keystone Bridge project is scheduled to resume this week. Work is still expected to be completed by Dec. 28 of this year. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


According to project engineer Nate Miller from Origin Design, Elkader’s Keystone Bridge project is scheduled to resume this week, which puts the project “right on schedule.”


“Remobilization efforts had been assumed to start in early April since the project was programmed to continue through the 2023 construction season,” Miller added.


The first week of remobilization will consist largely of equipment and materials being delivered to the project site, followed by the next phase of construction. That includes core drilling through the south spandrel wall, as the contractor prepares for the installation of the tie rods. Miller noted a portion of this drilling was completed prior to the project shutdown last year, so it remains on schedule. 


Additionally, the project contains a large number of unfinished items, including the installation of the pavement over the bridge deck, installation of the structural support system for the cantilevered sidewalk and the moisture control system, and numerous bridge restoration activities. In total, there are 61 specific items that need to be completed over the coming months. 


The most visible of these items, according to Miller, will be work associated with the construction of the bridge deck and sidewalk, with the south half of the bridge deck being poured after the installation of the various structural components and moisture control system have been completed. Once this is done, pedestrians will be rerouted to the newly finished portion of the deck bridge, which will allow work to continue and be completed on the north half of the bridge. Miller stated pedestrian access is expected to remain open throughout the remainder of the project. 


Along with the visible efforts, there will be less visible ones as well, including ongoing masonry restoration, which will extend through the construction season. 


One thing Miller highlighted was that, despite ongoing issues impacting employers of all types, the contractors associated with this job, “have done an admirable job navigating the supply chain, workforce and material shortages throughout this project.”


Also noted was that, prior to construction ceasing last year, there was some discussion over whether or not weather could pose a threat to the integrity of the paving work that was done. At that time, Miller was confident the winter and drops in temperature would not impact the paving and added that several steps were taken to mitigate any such occurrence. With the project about to resume, Miller was asked if that remained the case.


“There has been no evidence of weather-related damage to the structure, or previous work completed,” he responded. 


The project completion date remains Dec. 28 of this year.


“The team involved with this project is committed to completing the construction efforts on schedule. The city of Elkader, Moyna Construction and their subcontracting partners and Origin Design will remain actively engaged throughout the process to continue making progress on this historic project, and we do not foresee any reasons that the project would not be completed as scheduled,” Miller said. 

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