Work on the White Settlement Road Bridge on Panther Island has entered its final phase and the TxDOT contractor is currently removing the steel and timber support structure known as “falsework.” The falsework has supported the bridge’s steel and concrete box girder and deck system while under construction. Once the bridge’s post tensioning system was stressed and grouted, the bridge was able to become free standing and capable of carrying not only its own weight, but also the anticipated traffic loads.
Due to the falsework structure that the contractor elected to use, it was necessary to incorporate small “lowering holes” into the bridge deck and box girder system so that the falsework could be lowered from the top of the deck with electric cable jacks after the structure’s post tensioning stressing and grouting was completed.
The falsework on the White Settlement Road Bridge is being removed in 40 segments known as “drops.” To perform a drop, the contractor must strategically align the electric jacks on top of the bridge deck and then remove the steel support columns and cross timbers from below the bridge. They incrementally lower the steel beams and wood forming. The contractor is utilizing a computerized system that ensures that each of the electric jacks lower their portion of the falsework a precise amount during the lowering process. Each drop, with clean up, takes about a day to perform.
Work on the lowering of the falsework on the White Settlement Road Bridge is expected to continue for the next several weeks. The contractor is simultaneously working on other remaining activities of the bridges construction process such as the pedestrian traffic rails, the stainless steel handrail system, bridge lighting, grouting of the deck lowering holes and concrete approach slab paving.