Daily American Staff Writer

A massive crane slowly maneuvered the first piece of an 800-foot pedestrian bridge at the Flight 93 National Memorial into place on Wednesday as crews from Charles J. Merlo Inc. of Mineral Point began assembling the structure.

Leroy Renninger, inspector for the National Park Service, said the bridge sections arrived at 6 a.m. so as not to interfere with memorial visitor traffic. The first piece was put into place at about 1 p.m.

Each 100-foot-long piece weighs 7 1/2 tons. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to prepare each piece, which includes bolting them together, so they can be put in place on concrete abutments. The work is slow because the subcontractor takes safety seriously, Renninger said. URS/RQ Construction of Morrisville, North Carolina, is the primary contractor for the visitor and learning center complex. Richard Olaiz is the site superintendent for the primary contractor.

“This is a great project,” said Rich Keller of Jacobs Engineering of Somerset, the senior construction management representative for the National Park Service. “I’m glad to be here.”