Using AquaDam for Bridge Demolition

Repairing or demolishing a bridge without taking precautionary steps can introduce debris to waterways, creating hazards for people and wildlife. Luckily, there are ways to eliminate the risk of construction debris from entering waterways during a repair or demolition project. 

AquaDams have numerous applications in construction and bridge demolition, including waterway diversions, emergency water control and remediation. Learn more about bridge demolitions and how inflatable dams like the AquaDam can make a difference at the work site.

What Happens When a Bridge Needs to Be Demolished?

Sometimes, a bridge can be in such a bad state of repair that it needs demolishing. Many bridges in the United States are in poor condition, mainly because the golden age of building bridges has been over for years.

Many of the bridges today were designed to deal with a specific traffic volume that existed at the time. Traffic volumes have increased over the years, meaning that older bridges are becoming less capable of withstanding the growing traffic demands the bridge encounters. 

Rather than waiting for a bridge to fail due to increased traffic or age, leading to potentially disastrous situations, it’s best to make the necessary repairs or completely demolish a bridge to start over. Demolishing a bridge allows contractors to construct a new one at the same site or close by that can withstand current and growing traffic patterns. Sometimes, demolishing a bridge is the best option for the safety of others, reducing the risk of an old bridge failing as people are crossing.

Using Inflatable Dams for Bridge Repair

Bridge demolition projects often occur over moving or dynamic water. Dynamic water and bridge demolition can create a recipe for disaster without taking the appropriate steps to protect the waterway. Demolishing a bridge is more complicated than blowing it up and letting the water carry the debris downstream. 

Filling moving water with destroyed bridge debris can pose a risk to people and wildlife as it moves downstream, particularly larger pieces that can cause serious injury. Allowing bridge debris to fill a waterway is also illegal, and contractors don’t want to risk incurring any fines or experiencing legal trouble after demolishing a bridge.

One of the best and legal ways to conduct bridge demolitions or repairs is isolating the bridge from the moving water. Isolating the bridge can be a more straightforward process than you might think. Construction crews dam the water on both sides of the bridge, cutting off the water flow and creating a dry work environment for bridge demolition. However, it’s only possible to cut off water flow entirely when the flow is minimal. Most of the time, cutting off water flow can cause issues further upstream for people and wildlife.

Instead, crews can use a cofferdam for bridge demolition, damming the water by section and allowing water to continue flowing without risking bridge debris entering the waterway. Damming with inflatable cofferdams makes blocking areas of a channel easier since they can be inflated and deflated quickly. Deploying inflatable dams for bridge repair or demolition allows contractors to isolate sections of the bridge and remove the debris. After completing one area, workers can move on to the next. Workers repeat this process until the bridge has been completely demolished or repaired. 

AquaDams Capabilities in Bridge Demolition

Using inflatable dams for bridge construction, repairs and demolition comes with several advantages. AquaDams have many capabilities in bridge demolition and related repair projects. Here are the various construction industry applications of the AquaDam:

Stream or River Diversions

Diverting an entire stream or river for bridge demolition is no simple task. However, the AquaDam makes it possible. First, contractors must decide where they’ll divert the water flow. There are four primary forms of diversion:

  • Pump-around
  • Bypass canal
  • Bypass pipes
  • Leaving a part of the stream or river open 

Once contractors know where to divert the water, they can apply the AquaDam. As workers unroll or fill the AquaDam, contractors must keep it under control to ensure it stays taller than the surrounding stream or river depth. Contactors can increase the depth upstream since the AquaDam will restrict the original channel’s flow. The size of the AquaDam must account for the maximum water depth throughout the length of the project.

Canal Isolation

Some bridge repair or demolition projects require canal isolation, which can be achieved using the AquaDam. If contractors need to isolate a canal to repair sections of a bridge and the walls are close together, the AquaDam can form a V shape down the center. In this situation, support dams are recommended, especially when the canal walls are steep and narrow.

Emergency Water Control

Suppose a bridge is starting to fall apart and needs immediate repairs or demolition. In that case, the AquaDam can help contractors establish quick control over water flow to prevent debris from falling into the waterway. A stockpile of AquaDams is ready and available in warehouses across the country, prepared for shipment within hours to help contractors get started on last-minute bridge repairs or demolitions.

Diversion Pipes

Diverting water generally requires collecting water upstream and discharging it into the main channel downstream. With the AquaDam, contractors can install diversion pipes underneath the dam, allowing water to continue to flow throughout the work site within the pipes. The AquaDam can conform to diversion pipes underneath it, creating a seal. Contractors can improve the seal by installing a smaller dam underneath the pipes and filling them last.

Remediation and Hazmat

Sometimes, bridge demolition can introduce hazardous materials to waterways since many construction project use materials or chemicals that are considered unsafe. Contactors can deploy AquaDams to isolate these dangerous materials, preventing them from entering the waterway. AquaDams are designed to be filled with water, so contractors can create an external impoundment pond or isolated internal storage to serve the specifications of their job.

Contact Us to Learn How We Can Help on Your Next Bridge Demolition Project

AquaDams are an effective solution to help you eliminate the risk of debris entering waterways during your bridge repair or demolition project. AquaDams come in various sizes and lengths to accommodate your project specifications, whether you block off small sections or more significant areas. You can choose sizes up to 16 feet tall and lengths from 50 to 500 feet.

You can fill AquaDams with water on-site for quick installation, making it a convenient and efficient damming solution. The watertight inner tubing helps create a tight seal, reducing the risk of water getting through. We can also create custom lengths to fit the needs of your project. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you complete your next bridge demolition project.