Heavy lifting on Niantic River Bridge

Work crews move one of the toe girders to the assembly barge from the transport barge as major components of the Niantic railroad bridge are off loaded for assembly at the construction site in Niantic Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.
Buy Photo Tim Cook/The Day Work crews move one of the toe girders to the assembly barge from the transport barge as major components of the Niantic railroad bridge are off loaded for assembly at the construction site in Niantic Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.

East Lyme— On the second day of unloading steel for the new Niantic River Bridge, the work crews tackled the massive parts.

Mid-morning Tuesday, a crane lifted a peculiar-shaped structure called the heel girder while workers held on to lines attached to the corners to control it.

The heel girder, one of two that arrived by barge to the project site this weekend, has slots to hold solid lead blocks that act as a counterweight when the bridge opens and gear to open and close the bridge. The bearings on which the bridge will pivot protrude from the sides.

Amtrak is building a two-track, electrified, railroad bascule bridge across the Niantic River between East Lyme and Waterford, 58 feet south of its current location.

In less than half an hour, the workers guided the part onto the barge that the crane stood on and lowered it. The pointed end of the girder touched the barge first, then the heavier end was gently lowered. The second heel girder was on the barge by mid-afternoon.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

Workers unload one of the heel girders as major components of the new Niantic railroad bridge are moved to the construction barge in Niantic Tuesday Feb. 7, 2012.
Buy Photo Tim Cook/The Day Workers unload one of the heel girders as major components of the new Niantic railroad bridge are moved to the construction barge in Niantic Tuesday Feb. 7, 2012.
A workers exits the heel girder as it is prepared for moving to the crane barge as workers unload major components of the new Niantic railroad bridge in Niantic Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.
Buy Photo Tim Cook/The Day A workers exits the heel girder as it is prepared for moving to the crane barge as workers unload major components of the new Niantic railroad bridge in Niantic Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.
Workers guide one of the heel girders into place on the crane barge as major components of the new Niantic railroad bridge are moved for construction in Niantic Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.
Buy Photo Tim Cook/The Day Workers guide one of the heel girders into place on the crane barge as major components of the new Niantic railroad bridge are moved for construction in Niantic Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.
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