New technology helps DOT build better bridges in Sioux City

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You may have noticed what looks like huge styrofoam puzzle pieces along the interstate.  The pieces are a part of the process of building new I-29 bridges through Sioux City.  The material is fairly new to the highway business.  

The I-29 reconstruction project is only the third or fourth project in Iowa where the cubes have been used.
The special styrofoam is used to build up the ground under the overpasses instead of using dirt.  It’s being used in strategic locations along the project.

The biggest advantage comes in cost where the light weight of the new product offers a big advantage.

“Here we’re looking at material that weighs about 2 pounds a cubic foot where soil weighs anywhere from 80-100 pounds a cubic foot.  So that’s a lot less weight means that when you are on underlying layers that are less stable you have less measures you have to do in order to prevent settling,” said Dean Herbst, Construction Engineer with the DOT.

Herbst says the actual bridge construction is pretty much the same as it has been for years. The same kind of work is planned for the south bound lanes on i-29 as well.

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