The past three weeks with MDOT have been full of new experiences. Least of all, my coworker and I finally moved on from designing pavement markings to doing drainage work. This (so far) has included locating piping and sewer lines near I-94 that will need to be removed or relocated elsewhere.
What has truly made these weeks exciting were the two trips out into the field that I experienced. The first trip was to US-23 north of Ann Arbor and South of Brighton. Construction has been going on here for quite some time now and I was able to walk around and see some of the final work.
The picture on the far left is of a newly constructed bridge in this area. During my internship, I have heard lots of debate as to how aesthetic bridges should be because the more aesthetic, the more expensive they usually are. I felt this bridge was constructed at a price that taxpayers would be happy to hear but it is also a pretty bridge in my opinion. The middle picture is of a new roundabout. This shows how much of a slope there is that made this roundabout difficult to construct correctly. The far right picture is of a box culvert. A culvert is essentially a very large drain that can look similar to a bridge due to it’s size.
The second trip was to 6 mile road (north of Ann Arbor and South of Brighton) to watch the bridge over US-23 get taken down over night. If you look close enough, the far left photo shows sprinklers on the steel support beams of the bridge. These are placed to spray the ground and keep dust and other possible hazards at a minimum during construction. The second picture from the left shows a foot of sand underneath the bridge. This is placed there to keep the highway from taking damage while the bridge is being taken down above it. The picture third from the left is when the bridge is first beginning to get taken down. There were 4 large machines taking down the bridge and we can see one use a jack (similar to a jack hammer) destroying the barrier wall of the bridge. The last photo is after an hour and a half into the bridge destruction. You can see that lots of concrete has fallen and a large amount of dust floats in the air still even with the sprinklers in place.
This three week period also contained the halfway point of my internship. I only have 6 weeks left and still have much to learn so I am very excited to see what is coming ahead!