Gateway Arch - Construction

Construction

The bidding date, originally December 20, 1961, was postponed to January 22, 1962, to clarify the details of the arch construction. About 50 companies that had requested the construction requirements received bidding invitations. Extending from $11,923,163 to $12,765,078, all four bids exceeded the engineer estimate of $8,067,000. Wirth had a committee led by George Hartzog determine the validity of the bids in light of the government's conditions. Following a meeting with the bidders, the committee affirmed the bids' reasonableness, and Wirth awarded the lowest bidder, MacDonald Construction Company, the contract for the construction of the arch and the visitor center. On March 14, 1962, he signed the contract and received from Tucker $2,500,000, the city's subsidy for the phase. MacDonald reduced its bid $500,000 to $11,442,418. The Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company served as the subcontractor for the shell of the arch.

In 1959, ground was broken, and in 1961, the foundation of the structure was laid. Construction of the arch itself began on February 12, 1963, as the first steel triangle on the south leg was eased into place. These steel triangles, which narrowed as they spiraled to the top, were raised into place by a group of cranes and derricks. The arch was assembled of 142 12-foot-long (3.7 m) prefabricated stainless steel sections. Once in place, each section had its double-walled skin filled with concrete, prestressed with 252 tension bars. In order to keep the partially completed legs steady, a scissors truss was placed between them at 530 feet (160 m), later removed as the derricks were taken down. The whole endeavor was expected to be completed by fall 1964, in observance of St. Louis' bicentennial.

Contractor MacDonald Construction Co. arranged a 30-foot (9.1 m) tower for spectators and provided recorded accounts of the undertaking. In 1963, a million people went to observe the progress, and by 1964, local radio stations began to broadcast when large slabs of steel were to be raised into place.

The project manager of MacDonald Construction Co., Stan Wolf, said that a 62-story building was easier to build than the arch: "In a building, everything is straight up, one thing on top of another. In this arch, everything is curved."

Read more about this topic:  Gateway Arch

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Famous quotes containing the word construction:

    When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.
    Edmund Burke (1729–1797)

    There’s no art
    To find the mind’s construction in the face.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    There’s no art
    To find the mind’s construction in the face:
    He was a gentleman on whom I built
    An absolute trust.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)