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Cooper River Bridge Opens


Longest cable-stayed bridge in North America relies on several unique concrete mix designs.

Cooper River Bridge Opens

Longest Cable-Stayed Bridge in North America Relies on Several Unique Concrete Mix Designs

STURTEVANT, Wisconsin (October 10, 2005) - With a $541 million design-build contract, the Cooper River Bridge between Charleston and Mount Pleasant in South Carolina is the largest and most complex project completed by the South Carolina Department of Transportation to date. This high profile project includes an overall length of three miles, two interchanges, two high level approach structures and a 1,546 ft. main span cable-stayed bridge - the longest in North America.

Upon completion, over 305,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed. In addition to huge cofferdams, columns, pier caps and a 2-1/2 mile bridge deck, an incredible 400 drilled shafts were all pumped. Putzmeister BSF 52Z-Meter and BSF 55-Meter models did the bulk of the work, as the long reach capabilities of these boom pumps proved especially important due to the extensive heights and reaches involved.

However, at one point or another, the project utilized Putzmeister concrete boom pumps of every size. These models were sourced from the general contractor's own fleet, and they were supplied from Pioneer Concrete Pumping - the project's exclusive pumping contractor.

Due to the project's complexity and 100-year service life challenge, the concrete supplier was a vital link. To meet the many special concrete mix requirements, Wando Concrete LLC of Charleston, SC took a leading role. They handled design, batching, transporting and testing of concrete.

The differing mixes involved high strength, high early strength, low permeability, extended set times, extended haul times and control of initial temperature. Combinations of 11-hour initial set requirements, maximum temperature criteria and 18-hour strength requirements proved to be challenging.

More detailed information about the mix designs can be sourced from issue No. 41 of the HPC Bridge Views Newsletter, which can be downloaded from www.cement.org/bridges/br_newsletter.asp.

The new Cooper River Bridge opened to traffic on July 16, 2005, more than one year ahead of the date required for final completion.