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Workers remove, haul away chunk of old 4500 South bridge over I-215

It took only two hours this morning for crews to lift and remove a massive segment of the old 4500 South bridge over I-215 and carry it down the freeway to a nearby demolition zone.

Work will continue this afternoon to take down the remaining segment, as the Utah Department of Transportation tests new machines that can lift the million-pound bridge segments, and allow the agency to replace the 4500 South bridge in just 36 hours.

The machines are called "self propelled modular transporters," and look almost like flat-bed trailers stacked high with a hodge-podge of storage containers, barrels and chunks of wood that help support the heavy bridge segments.

One man in a red jumpsuit stood behind the transporters with a joystick of sorts, and helped maneuver the big bridge segment that was moved this morning down the freeway.

"I think this is pretty interesting," said Cathy Tansimore, who was standing alongside Wasatch Boulevard, watching the bridge move. "Once I found out the idea was to move the whole piece, I was like 'Oh my God, how do you do this without having it fall on the freeway?'"

Hundreds of people were lining the fence that separates I-215 from Wasatch

Boulevard, watching as a crew of men moved the segment down the freeway. The segment was nearly four lanes wide, and the transporters, which have 64 free-moving wheels, were being maneuvered gingerly to shuttle the piece down the freeway.

UDOT contracted with a Dutch-based company, Mammoet, to help replace the 4500 South bridge. Mammoet specializes in lifting heavy objects.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., crews are scheduled to lift a new 4500 South bridge into place over I-215. The bridge has been built alongside the freeway the past five months. It will take 10 days until the bridge is open to the public.


E-mail: nwarburton@desnews.com