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GRIDLINE, Issue #15, August 2016

In July 2014, Gridline #11 featured an article emphasizing three major reasons why a BGFMA fabricator should be specified: quality, capacity (on-time delivery), and experience.  Beginning with this issue, we will feature some of the member company individuals whose many years of experience can be capitalized to provide sound advice during plan preparation, fabrication and installation.


Meet Gene Gilmore

Gene Gilmore is the current CEO and past President of Bailey Bridges, Inc. located in Fort Payne, Alabama.  He has been with Bailey Bridges since 2002 but has spent his entire 44 year career in the industrial grating & bridge grid flooring industry.
Gene was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and graduated from college in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering followed with a Masters' in Business Administration, both degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.  He began his career working for the New Jersey Department of Transportation but soon found himself back in Pittsburgh when a manufacturer of heavy gratings and bridge grid flooring, Reliance Steel Products Company, offered him a position in its engineering department.  Gene quickly rose up the ladder as an estimator, sales engineer, sales manager and eventually general manager.  Gene credits his time with Reliance as an incredible learning experience that laid the foundation for the rest of his career.
He later was recruited for a position with Greulich Inc. division of Easco as Vice President of Sales.  During this time, the grating & bridge grid flooring industry underwent a series of mergers and acquisitions and Gene eventually found himself back in New Jersey as the Marketing & Product Manager for specialty grating products for the merged company of IKG/Borden/Greulich, division of Harsco Corp.  He was later promoted to General Manager for the Fiberglass (FRP) grating division of IKG in Nashville.  After 10 years, he then accepted a position with the Virginia based Strongwell Corporation (world's largest fiberglass pultrusion company) as its International Business Director. His new position took him on travels to 5 continents to conduct the company's business.  After traveling the world for a few years, he was recruited once again by Harsco Industrial - IKG's bridge grid division and returned to Pittsburgh as its Marketing Manager and ultimately General Manager.  Then Mr. Bob Graham, owner of Bailey Bridges, recruited Gene as both a partner and President of Bailey Bridges.  Today as CEO of Bailey Bridges, in addition to his fiduciary and company direction duties, Gene still stays engaged with estimating, bidding and managing projects while being actively involved in one of his favorite pastimes, the developing of new industrial/commercial grating products and innovative bridge grid designs.  In his 14-year tenure with Bailey Bridges, the company's sales have grown well over tenfold.
In his long career, Gene has worked on some high profile bridges with grid reinforced concrete decks including the Tobin Memorial Bridge in Boston, MA; the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in Groton, CT; and the Queensboro Bridge in New York City.  In his spare time, Gene likes to travel and to check off a few key items on his bucket list, he looks forward to an Alaskan cruise next year followed by a couple of European trips in the years shortly thereafter.


Rapid Construction and Weight Savings Highlight Pennsylvania's First Exodermic Deck

The Liberty Bridge, opened for traffic in 1928, is credited (along with the Liberty Tunnel) as an instrumental door opening Pittsburgh's yet undeveloped South Hills area to expansion.  At the time, the bridge would be the highest, costliest, and its 2663'-0" total length would be the longest built in the city.  Interesting facts such as these and the story behind the bridge can be read in the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) (See Liberty Bridge HAER448).

Today, the Liberty Bridge is again making local history as Pennsylvania's first Exodermic deck to be installed.  Construction is well under way and as one of Pittsburgh's major arteries, it was imperative to minimize disruption to traffic.  Deck replacement is taking place in four stages, one lane at a time.  Available lanes will be assigned direction depending on demand.  The morning commute will require two lanes inbound, leaving one lane for outbound traffic.  During the afternoon rush, two lanes are available for outbound traffic and only one available for inbound motorists.  At night, local contractor Joseph B. Fay Company can shut down an additional lane which is used for setting deck panels, offloading supplies, and pouring concrete.  The contractor is making great use of the closure.  In the picture shown, Fay set and leveled 87 galvanized panels (nearly 7000 square feet) in one night!  After minimal installation of forms between panels and securing haunch forms, the panels are ready to receive a single mat of rebar.
In addition to speed of construction, the deck replacement project is capitalizing on another advantage of grid reinforced concrete decks and that is its high strength to weight ratio.  The Liberty Bridge is currently load rated to 30 tons and has been on the states structurally deficient list with some major steel deterioration that will be corrected under this contract.  By maximizing this strength/weight ratio advantage utilizing lightweight concrete, design engineers at HDR were able to increase the stringer spacing up to 9'-9" in some locations and integrate the spacing into a harmonized maintenance of traffic control plan.
Construction on the Liberty Bridge is scheduled into 2017.


2016 ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah hosted the 25th annual ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) this past Memorial Day weekend.  Leading up to this event, 223 teams competed against each other in 18 regions across the country.  Seven international teams competed in geographically close regions.  From the regional level, 48 schools advanced to the national competition.  This year's overall winner in Provo was École de Technologie Supérieure of Montreal.


The BGFMA was again a proud silver level sponsor at the national level and locally contributed to the University of Toledo (North Central Region) and University of Akron (Ohio Valley Region) student steel bridge teams to help finance their endeavors.  Congratulations to the Zips at Akron for making it to the national competition.
The 2017 NSSBC will be hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon on May 25-26.

Grid Facts
Recently, the BGFMA published a technical bulletin (Tech-Line) discussing overfills and overlays (See Tech-Line, Issue #14).  Increased overfill or additional concrete cover over the rebar offers several advantages such as increased stiffness, corrosion protection for the steel, and a sacrificial element for a future wearing surface to name a few.  Overlays which can be replaced will provide extended life for the deck and are strongly recommended for any precast deck system due to the intrinsic cold joints between panels.  They are also highly encouraged for any cast-in-place system with staged construction.


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