Until 1961, bridge contractors faced a number of limitations when paving bridge decks. Using screed boards equal in length to the distance between the bridge abutment and first pier, contractors were confined to paving only this distance at one time. “This also restricted bridge designs and the length of pier segments as there was a limit to girder camber with this method of paving,” says Larry Eben, Southeastern regional sales manager for Terex Bid-Well.
In 1961, an upstart company named Bid-Well developed a new method for paving decks, which changed the face of bridge paving. “Tex” Bidwell, a bridge contractor from Rapid City, S.D., had an idea for paving the deck transversely, rather than the then industry-standard longitudinally. He developed this concept with a Canton, S.D., machine shop operator, Murray Rowe, and thus began the historical roots of today’s Terex Bid-Well.
“With longitudinal paving, contractors would see transfer deflection from the girders after the pour, which resulted in an uneven ride. So Tex’s idea was driven more to improve ride and gradeability,” says Eben.
The first Terex Bid-Well paver design included an oscillating strike-off pan riding along a 48-in (1219-mm) deep truss frame. These pavers increased deck paving widths up to 60 ft (18.3 m) wide. The width was limited only by the electrical cords that powered the oscillating pan, augers and machine movement.
Within a few years, demand for these new transverse pavers grew, taxing the capacity of the small company. So in 1969, Rowe sold the company to the CMI Corporation (today Terex Roadbuilding), giving the company capital to expand and evolve the paver designs. Rowe would remain as president of Bid-Well, a position he held for more than 35 years.
As bridge designs evolved due to the flexibility these new transverse pavers offered, so too did the design of the Terex Bid-Well paver. As bridge widths expanded in the early 1970s, the pavers transitioned from electric to hydraulic operation. This eliminated the electric cord limitations and expanded the machine’s paving capabilities beyond 120 ft (36.6 m), giving contractors unprecedented flexibility.
Roughly this same time, the floating strike-off pan was replaced by a single roller strike off, which was marked by a transition to the BR Series . A second roller was eventually added to the design, improving paving quality and speed.
Because of the company’s close working relationship with the customer, Terex Bid-Well has introduced a number of design innovations over the years to make the bridge contractor’s job easier. In the mid 1980s, the company developed its patented Rota-Vibe system. The system delivers up to 5,000 vpm (83.3 Hz) over the rollers’ entire length to reconsolidate the top 2.5 in (63.5 mm) of concrete, delivering a denser and more uniformly consolidated concrete surface.
Other design advancements include:
- A 5-in (127-mm) hydraulic carriage lift, allowing the paving unit to be raised to quickly pass over obstacles and then automatically reset to established grade.
- Swing leg design, which allows the machine to be offset for zero-clearance paving.
- Pivot leg option, which enables the legs to be set to a true vertical position when paving superelevations, removing pressures on the rails.
- A fogging system with nozzles that atomize the water to create a true, light fog.
- Hydraulic crown adjustment that enables contractors to make quick crown changes.
- Optional Skew bar kit that allows the paving carriage to be offset, so it hits the same crown points when the machine is paving at the skew angle.
Terex Bid-Well also manufacturers the only machine capable of paving bridge decks in excess of 200 ft (61 m) wide. “Responding to customer needs remains one of the cornerstones of the business today,” says Rob Drew, site director of TerexBid-Well and only the fourth leader in the company’s history.