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Gold Line Bridge on the Cutting Edge of Design and Technology

The Gold Line Bridge will employ a wire system to allow Metro authorities to check for foundation damage using electronic signals rather than excavation.

The, which will span the eastbound 210 Freeway to connect Pasadena's Sierra Madre station to the future station, has begun to take shape and will be notable for its design and technical innovation.

Two round structures constructed mostly of metal rebar rise up from the ground, visible to passersby. Those structures will eventually be covered with concrete to complete their transformation into columns designed to support the 584-foot bridge's weight.

Inconspicuously wound inside the columns are wires that will serve a vital function—detecting foundation damage using electrical impulses.

Back in the "bad old days," one had to drill down to a bridge foundation in order to inspect it for damage if an incident, such as an earthquake, occurred.

The new technology, called Time Domain Reflectometry, has never before been used in bridge construction, said Gary Baker, director of construction for .

"This is emergent technology," Baker said to members of the media gathered for a behind-the-scenes tour of the bridge construction site Monday.

Cutting Edge Design

But the use of TDR is only one way in which the Gold Line Bridge, slated for completion in July, is on the cutting edge. The other is the bridge's architectural design by Andrew Leicester.

The columns' ultra-modern design evokes Native American baskets, said Skanska USA Civil Project Manager Lawrence Damore. Skanska is the design firm behind the bridge.

While the completion of the bridge will surely mark an exciting occasion for all involved with the 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension Project, construction may cause temporary headaches for commuters.

Numerous freeway , including two full closures scheduled for midnight to 5 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, are necessary to finish construction.

Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Authority CEO Habib Balian said Metro will do what it can to make the closures go smoothly, including scheduling them for nighttime hours whenever possible, and giving commuters ample notice.

The public also has access to a complaint hotline staffed during closure hours. However, so far, so good.

Both Balian and Damore said they received few complaints from the public regarding the four Gold Line Bridge-related closures that have already taken place in the past two months, and they fully expect the trend to continue.

Cat Burns October 05, 2011 at 07:37 PM
It would help if you also announce which on/off ramps are going to be closed. Since this is done during commute times. It would help to be able to adjust time needed to get somewhere.
Nathan McIntire October 05, 2011 at 10:06 PM
@ Cat Burns: Hi Cat. We actually have been publishing that info and the latest one ran yesterday. Here's a link to it: http://patch.com/A-m8KB
Paul Esseker November 25, 2011 at 02:14 AM
It may be cutting edge but this bridge is quite ugly. There is no relationship between the forms. The forms are inappropriate for those materials. The design concept is irrelevant to the project. This thing is ugly in so many ways.

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