MoDOT uses dish soap to slide bridge

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COLUMBIA – The Garth Avenue bridge is covered in Dawn dish soap, but ready to slide into its permanent location. 

“After we raise the bridge up, we put the dish soap down to help reduce friction when sliding the bridge into place. It takes a very small amount; a few economic sized containers should do the trick,” Doerhoff said.

The method also uses hydraulics to push the bridge over metal tracks to move the bridge into place.

In the state of Missouri, the “sliding” method has only been completed one other time. 

Starting Tuesday night, MoDOT and Emery Sapp and Son workers moved all east and west bound lanes crossing over the Garth Avenue bridge onto one bridge, allowing traffic to clear and crews to being preparing the second of the two bridges to be moved into its final position.

“We put all four lanes on one bridge in preparation of sliding one of the two bridges 38 feet and into its final destination,” said Josh Doerhoff, the Emery Sapp and Sons project manger.

According to MoDOT officials, between 65 thousand and 85 thousand vehicles drive through Columbia on Interstate 70 every day. For this reason, Travis Koestner, MoDOT’s assistant district engineer for the central district of Missouri, said keeping traffic flowing was important.

“A goal for our project was to keep two lanes of traffic moving in each direction on I-70 at all times. We wanted to do this to maximize safety for both workers and citizens," he said.

Koestner said the “I-70 Bridge Project” is on schedule and should still be finished by Oct.1.