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Pile driving to continue through winter on new Hastings Bridge

Construction has begun on the new Hastings bridge, but it will still

be a while before there's much to see. The pile driving process will

continue until March or April, said project coordinator Steve Kordosky.

Pile driving is the foundation-laying process for bridges. Crews have

to sink piles deep enough so that they're embedded with enough

friction and resistance to hold up the weight of the bridge, said Mn/

DOT public affairs coordinator J.P. Gillach.

Forty of the 120 12-inch-thick ground improvement pilings are already

in place on the north shore, Kordosky said, and should be finished in

the next month.

"They hope to have those all driven by about Dec. 1," he said.

Ground improvement piling will take some of the load off the widening

roadway, he explained. Without them, the new road would settle once

it's built. In order to support the weight, they have to be placed

160 to 190 feet below the surface.

The next part of the project is driving larger piles into the river.

There will be 70 of those, each one 42 inches in diameter. Each one

will be placed 180 feet below the surface.

"The water came up on us a couple of times, and we're hoping to maybe

get at it late this week, maybe next week," Kordosky said.

Crews will drive three test piles and place test loads on them to

make sure they'll be able to support the weight they'll need to. Once

testing is completed, they'll put in cofferdams (enclosures designed

to create a dry work environment) and start putting in the production

piles. That process is expected to last into March or April, Kordosky


Once pilings are completed on the north bank, soil will be brought in

to compact the underlying earth before the roadway embankment comes

in. Crews hope to see that done before winter sets in.

"They want to get that in here while the weather's still

cooperating," Kordosky said.

The visual quality team is also working to narrow down the bridge

color. The team is narrowing down the choices to three, which have

not been released yet. VQT members will then take the colors out to

the public to get feedback and bring back what they hear to the full

team, which will then make a final decision. Visual quality work is

scheduled to be completed around the end of this year.

Anyone interested in learning more about the bridge project can

attend a Bridge Chat, hosted by Mn/DOT. This week's chat will be held

from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Dunn Bros. Other chats

will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, at Benny's Grill

and Coffee Shop; and at 9 a.m. Nov. 24 and Dec. 22, at Emily's Bakery

and Deli.