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Whatever it takes. That’s what you do to build a replacement bridge over water. The Route 501 bridge over the James River near the Bedford/Amherst County line is a perfect example. The 930-foot replacement bridge contains over 3,300 CY of concrete. Specifically, mass concrete that required regular monitoring with temperature probes to ensure that the differential between internal and external temperatures did not exceed 35 degrees.

How they placed the concrete was also clever. Rather than relying on mounds of gravel to reach the piers, they used floating barge platforms to get the concrete where it needed to go. A crane was kept on the shore. The ready mixed trucks would load the concrete into the bucket of the crane. The crane then swung around to the floating barge, which had a pump loaded onto it. The concrete was transferred to the pump, then pumped to the bridge deck!