Urban strictly enforced measures to protect the Niagara Gorge area from the blast cleaning and repainting, which was completed in a compressed time frame to take advantage of favorable weather.
The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC) selected Urban Engineers of New York, D.P.C. (Urban) as construction manager for the $15.6 million refurbishment of the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge.
Originally constructed in 1897, this 550-foot-long, two-hinged, spandrel-braced arch bridge suspends 230 feet above the Niagara River. Each year, the bridge’s two decks carry 750,000 vehicles into Niagara Falls commercial districts, contributing to the $26 billion of annual trade in the region.
Urban worked in cooperation with Greenman-Pedersen, McCormick-Rankin, and Liberty Maintenance to complete the project on schedule and within budget. The project entailed 100% blast cleaning and painting of all steel, repairs to structural steel, and replacement of approximately 1,000 rivets. In addition, the pedestrian walkway was removed and replaced with new sidewalk planks.
Urban coordinated construction with the NFBC, U.S. and Canadian Customs and Immigration Offices, U.S. Border Patrol, local police, Niagara Parks Commission, New York State Power Authority, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. A key concern was protecting a hiking trail below the bridge from lead-filled paint chips and safely removing and disposing any fallen chips.
Worker safety was another concern. Removing 100-year-old rivets from a historic bridge, while suspended 20 stories above the 30 mph whitewater, required careful planning and safety precautions. Urban also strictly enforced measures to protect the Niagara Gorge area from the blast cleaning and repainting, which was completed in a compressed time frame to take advantage of favorable weather.