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Grand River Bridge
Case Study

The Client

The Grand River bridge in Grand Rapids, MI on behalf of Slagter Construction


The Project

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) contracted with Slagter Construction — who’s been in the highway construction business since 1955 — to rehabilitate a bridge over the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Part of the work required the replacement of the bridge barrier rail and concrete deck, as well as repairing portions of the bridge’s steel structure. In addition, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) specified that no debris could fall into the river during the cutting of the concrete bridge barrier. Similarly, the slurry generated while sawing the barrier had to be contained so it would not drain into the river.

The Plan

Because of the need to remove the barrier wall without dropping any debris or slurry into the river, and the need to remove the barrier wall quickly, Diamond used a two-cut plan. The first stage called for slab sawing the barrier vertically into manageable pieces. The second stage called for curb sawing the barrier horizontally, thereby ensuring the most practical and efficient process for successfully completing the job and complying with State mandated rules.

The Process

Diamond used a custom-built ride-on horizontal curb saw to cut the 12-inch thick barrier on both sides of the 500-foot long bridge. Diamond’s ride-on horizontal curb saw, capable of cutting barrier walls as thick as 24 inches, cut the barrier wall flush to the remaining pedestrian walkway. Finally, to downsize the concrete pieces for easier removal, Diamond used high-horsepower slab saws to make vertical separating cuts in the barrier rail. In addition, Diamond provided Slagter with equipment to collect and properly dispose of the generated slurry​.

The Outcome

“We had a tough job ahead of us,” said Brock Johnson, Vice President for Devere Construction, a general contracting company. “There was no way we could hammer this building away without destroying the other building. Frankly, we called Diamond and gave them our problem. After meeting with us, they came back with a plan to solve our problem. The plan worked.” According to Johnson, the professionalism and skill that Diamond brought to the job was outstanding. “Their people aligned with our on-site people. They were real easy to work with and worked hard to meet all of our needs. They finished the job according to plan, schedule and budget. As a bonus, they solved another problem for us by horizontally cutting an old 40 feet long by 11 foot-thick concrete footing. The whole project went like clockwork,” concluded Johnson. “Diamond’s knowledge, quality, service and people were excellent. We could not have done it without them.”

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