Cranes begin lifting the 250-ton beam that will rest on two supporting structures over the inner loop of the Capital Beltway.
Photo by Mike Salmon/VDOT Virginia Megaprojects
VDOT and its construction partners Fluor-Lane erected the 495 Express Lanes Project’s largest beam over the 495 north (inner loop) lanes on Friday night, Feb. 4. The beam is the main support structure for the express lanes ramp to Route 7, Leesburg Pike, when the new express lanes open by end of this year. A primary crane and support cranes hoisted and placed the 250-ton beam on top of two bridge piers over the Inner Loop lanes after midnight, requiring a full closure of all four northbound lanes, diverting traffic onto the Route 7 exit ramp and down a temporary ramp back onto 495 north. The beam, known as a "box girder" in the highway engineering world, was built in Lancaster, Pa. and shipped on a special trailer to carry the massive 130-foot, 10-foot high and 6-foot wide beam. Box girders are used in this type of ramp design to span a distance between two piers without a land-based abutment. A similar beam will be used at the 495 Express Lanes ramp connecting to Braddock Road later this year. For more information on the 495 Express Lanes Project and all VDOT Megaprojects go to: www.Vamegaprojects.com.