Case Study: 536T Railroad Bridge Install with Hydra-Slide Skid System

536 Ton Railroad Bridge Install with the Hydra-Slide Skidding System



L.G. Barcus & Sons are no strangers to railroad bridge installations. However, their latest project to demolish an old railroad bridge and move a new 135-foot-long, 536T steel span in position within 22 hours required special planning.

Faced with several factors that could have stalled the project or drug it out past the customer’s requested repair window, the project managers, superintendents, and engineers at L.G. Barcus & Sons went over several options to determine the best way to place the new bridge when time constraints, accessibility, and increased weight caused the usual lift plan to be scrapped.

“On past projects, we’ve been able to build a bridge, double pick it and set it in place, but with the time constraint and weight of the bridge, we had to research some alternate ways to put it in,” Marshall Chambers, Superintendent for Barcus, said.



Within 22 hours, Barcus needed to place the 135′ section of bridge that spanned the river, then install two additional 50′ spans, one on the east side and one on the west side, to complete the bridge and have trains running again. This made time constraints one of their biggest challenges. As a result, building the new bridge in place was eliminated as an option immediately, as well as the possibility of moving the 135’ span in two separate sections.

L.G. Barcus & Sons had a 650T and 300T crane on site, and LGH could have provided the rigging gear necessary to make a traditional pick and place happen. However, the weight of the bridge sections and headroom concerns presented an issue. Once the headroom was factored in for lifting the entire bridge structure, the lift would have been pushing dangerously close to the crane’s capacity. To further complicate matters, bringing in a bigger crane wasn’t an option due to space and accessibility restrictions on site.

“We were looking at a lot of ways to do it. Then someone just said, why don’t we roll it in?” Chambers remarked.



Enter the Hydra-Slide Skidding System. A project manager for Barcus had come across an LGH demonstration video of the Hydra-Slide on YouTube and was enthusiastic about using it. He connected with LGH Rental Support Representative Matt Kral, and together, they devised a plan.

Generally, the Hydra-Slide comes with four skid shoes and has a rated capacity of 500T. However, since the span weighed 536T, additional planning had to be done. LGH’s Matt Kral connected with Don Mahnke, President of Hydra-Slide, to determine if the Hydra-Slide could still be an option for this project.

They determined that the track could handle more weight if additional skid shoes were used to distribute the weight across the system evenly. Each shoe adds a 125T capacity, and up to two shoes may be added to safely increase the system’s capacity from 500T to 750T. This discovery put the Hydra-Slide back in play as the most logical piece of equipment for this application.



After the Hydra-Slide and accessories were delivered on-site, L.G. Barcus & Sons began constructing the new bridge on top of the Hydra-Slide track sections.

Since the bridge was designed to be built in place, which time constraints did not allow, special steel frames had to be built around each of the bridge bearing pads to wedge them. This ensured the Hydra Slide’s hydraulic rams could stay in sync.

The application required the construction of 25 feet of h-pile and steel caps to run the Hydra-Slide out on. L.G. Barcus & Sons also added temporary footings to have support legs for the track on top of the Hydra-Slide.

When these preparations were complete and the bridge constructed, Barcus began demolishing the old bridge and clearing it out. Once that was finished, they were ready to slide in the new structure.

With two synchronized Hydra-pacs powering the system, the bridge was moved straight in with no effort, aside from eyeballing the structure to ensure nothing became caught or skewed. Once the sliding began, the Hydra-Slide system had the bridge in position within about 30 minutes. At that point, L.G. Barcus & Sons utilized multiple hydraulic jacks to jack the bridge off the Hydra-Slide, remove the tracks, and lower the bridge back in place. The two 50’ steel spans were then installed on the east and west side of the bridge.

As a result, L.G. Barcus & Sons completed this massive project within the time frame that the customer required with no significant problems or delays.

“It was a huge undertaking, but in the end, the customer was very happy. I would recommend the Hydra-Slide to anyone doing something technical like this. It blew me away. The easiest part of the whole project was sliding the bridge. It actually would have been more difficult to land it where it needed to go with the cranes as opposed to sliding it in,” Chambers said.

Click here to view a timelapse video of this project, graciously supplied by L.G. Barcus & Sons:


  • Hydra-Pac Synchronous Skidding System & Included Accessories
  • (2) Hydra-Pac Synchronous Double Acting Pumps
  • 200 ft of Hydra-Slide Track Sections
  • (2) Additional Hydra-Slide Skid Shoes
  • (4) 100T Machine Skates
  • (2) 50T Hydraulic Rams
  • (2) 150T Hydraulic Rams
  • (6) 150’ Hydraulic Hoses w/ Couplings


L.G. Barcus and Sons, Inc. has been in the construction industry for over 100 years, providing services to public and private entities in 38 states. These services include Bridge Construction, Sheeting and Shoring, Augered Cast-in-Place Piles, Retaining Walls, Concrete Structures, Railroad Construction, Railroad Services, Cofferdams, and Deep Foundations (driven piles and AugerPile foundations).



LGH is North America’s largest single organization devoted exclusively to the provision of lifting and moving equipment for rent. LGH holds the most comprehensive inventory for hoisting, rigging, jacking, pulling, material handling, and safety equipment. With over 70,000 pieces, our lifting equipment is available for rent from 23 locations throughout North America, and our customers are supported by over 50 Rental Representatives nationwide.

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