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Heavy lifting on Niantic River Bridge

By Jennifer McDermott

Publication: theday.com

Published February 07. 2012 4:00PM   Updated February 07. 2012 8:29PM

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

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