Pier construction is complete on the nearly one-mile long River Bridge, of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway's Northern Section, said a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation engineer on Friday. Now, the next major stage of the project will involve pouring concrete on the beams connecting the piers.
Despite cold weather and sporadic snow events over the next few months, assistant construction engineer Ted Deptula said, "the contractor will work through the winter preparing for placing concrete in the spring."
The lead contractor of the entire $865 million CSVT project is the Trumbull Corporation, of Pittsburgh. The River Bridge is a $156 million project.
Weather is always a factor in construction, but particularly so in the winter, he said.
"When it is windy, the contractor will work on the ground, and do whatever they can safely do," Deptula said.
"The contractor will be constructing forms (also known as casting beds) and placing rebar over the winter," Deptula said.
Rebar is short for reinforcing bar — a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension.
Very little work will be performed on the Winfield side of the bridge until 2021, he noted.
"They will be constructing forms and placing rebar over the winter," Deptula said.
Very little work will be performed on the Winfield side until 2021. The paving contractor [New Enterprise Stone and Lime Company, of Winfield] will concentrate on the Northumberland County side until then.
Construction is currently 80 percent complete overall on the project's Northern Section, which will connect U.S. 15 just south of Winfield to PA 147 just south of Montandon, said Kimberly Smith, PennDOT safety press officer.
"The major earthwork operations and the non-river bridges are complete," she said Friday. "For the new bridge over the West Branch Susquehanna River, with pier construction now complete, beam setting is anticipated to be completed in late 2019."
Concrete placement for the river bridge deck and paving for the Northern Section of the highway both began in Summer 2019. Overall, PennDOT anticipates the Northern Section will be completed and opened to traffic in 2022.
Meanwhile, Smith said, final design is ongoing for the CSVT project’s Southern Section, which will connect U.S. 11/15 just north of Selinsgrove to U.S. 15 just south of Winfield.
"PennDOT received environmental clearance in January 2019 for modifying roughly two miles of the project alignment to avoid the fly ash waste basins near Shamokin Dam," she said.
That clearance, Smith said, "finalized the selection of the eastern alternative in the Ash Basin Focus Area and has allowed PennDOT to proceed with right-of-way acquisitions, utility relocations, permitting and preparation of final plans and construction bidding documents."
The Southern Section includes an interchange-connector to U.S. 11/15/PA 61, Veterans Memorial Bridge.
PennDOT currently anticipates construction of the Southern Section of the CSVT will begin in 2022 and be completed in 2027.