Anyone driving along the snaky portion of Highway 60 between Claypool and Miami recently may have seen the work underway at the BHP bridge.
Known as the Miami Entrance Bridge Erosion Control Project, it was started by BHP to control the deterioration of bridge scour as well as natural erosion caused by water in the Bloody Tanks Wash over the years, said BHPs Community Liaison, Sarah Daniel.
Bridge scour is the removal of sediment, such as sand and gravel, from around bridge abutments or piers. Caused by swiftly moving water, scour can scoop out scour holes, comprising a bridge’s structural integrity.
Conditions under the bridge showed scour around the base of the northern bridge bents as well as erosion on the slope paving on the north bridge.
Also, based on different sidewalk heights on each side of the bridge, as well as deterioration of existing concrete on the wash’s north side, it appeared that there was some settlement of both the north and south abutment walls, she said.
In addition to the bridge work, BHP took the initiative to abandon an existing well in the same area and remove asbestos piping along Bloody Tanks Wash and in front of BHP property, Daniel said.
Both the bridge and the project’s location are outside of BHP’s property boundaries along Highway 60 and the intersection with Davis Canyon Road. However, the bridge represents the main access to BHP’s office as well as other closure/operational areas at the Miami Unit, so it was in the company’s best interest to keep it functional, Daniel said.
Major tasks associated with the project include removing broken concrete; regarding and compacting the wash’s north wall prior to installation of the new shotcrete —sprayed concrete—pouring a concrete slab under the bridge; removing transite/asbestos pipe and abandoning the southwest well, she said.
Aside from controlling erosion and scour under and around the bridge, the project’s intent is to maintain the original wash elevation, based on the 1949 bridge designs provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation, thereby reducing the possibility of future scour, Daniel said.
BHP contracted with Stantec Engineering for the project’s engineering designs and studies. The project was awarded to Globe contractor 5D Construction, she said.
The project, which began in early May, is expected to be completed in mid-July.
Prior to starting, BHP presented the project to the Miami Town Council and the company plans to also present the project summary once completed.
Miami Town Manager Joe Heatherly said recently that the bridge project is part of the ongoing beautification of Miami, along with the town’s ongoing sewer project, the APS gas plant remediation project and the efforts of Town Councilwoman and local artist Patty Bringhurst to paint recycled manhole collars placed along Highway 60, across from the bridge.
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