SAF Creates Custom Metal Panels to Meet Original Design Intent of Lewiston-Queenston Bridge
Anodized Aluminum and Stainless Steel Panels Complete Design Overhaul at U.S.-Canada Border
Opened in 1962, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge connects Lewiston, NY, to Queenston, Ontario. It remains one of the busiest bridges that connect the United States and Canada. On average, nearly 4 million vehicles cross the bridge per year – on a daily commute to work, on a night out on the town, or as part of a vacation excursion.
Announced in 2015, the multi-phase renovation of the span will provide a complete overhaul to the bridge itself plus renovations to the administrative building, overhead canopies, and inspection lanes and booths on the United States side. The project also includes expanding the number of inspection lanes from 10 to 16 – five reserved for passenger cars or trucks, and one for buses.
The glazing company, Hogan Glass, needed a manufacturer who could custom-design metal panels to meet the specifications that were already established in a design plan, including the need for oversized panels.
Hogan Glass turned to SAF for a solution.
Fulfilling an Existing Design
When the project team was looking for a new metal fabricator to provide materials for the job, they needed an experienced company that could tailor panel fabrication to meet the existing architectural design.
“The design involved intricacies such as angled metal panels for color variation as well as stainless steel with a mirrored finished to replicate glass on the exterior walls,” said Bill Hurley, senior project manager at Hogan Glass. “We needed a metal fabricator who could come in and fulfill the design requirements for a job that had already begun, and we entrusted SAF to do so.”
SAF supplied both fabricated stainless steel and anodized aluminum metal panels for installation on the administrative building, booths, and canopies. The material mix was comprised of a combination of 14-gauge stainless steel and .090 – 0.125 anodized aluminum brake metal. The anodized panels were intentionally designed and installed in a manner that would showcase a natural color variation common in anodized materials.
Finding the Right Fabricator
Being a one-stop shop for aluminum distribution, fabrication, and finishing made SAF a prime choice for the team at Hogan Glass.
“Choosing SAF really helped us streamline the process because they serve as a single source for a variety of metal needs,” added Hurley. “SAF was able to fabricate, anodize, and finish the panels so that they were essentially ready for installation as soon as we got to the job site. SAF is a one-stop shop, and that was a big benefit.”
In addition, the upper portion of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge administrative building required metal panels that exceeded standard lengths.
“Not a lot of metal fabricators are capable of making 16-foot panels,” Hurley explained. “It was a unique circumstance, and SAF was able to fabricate metal panels in the lengths that the design called for.”
The administrative building required nearly 7,000 square feet of material, while the inspection booths needed to be equipped with another 9,500 square feet of metal. The majority of the metal panels are custom-made anodized aluminum that undulate across the face of the building. This produces different visual effects depending on the intensity and position of the sunlight and a viewer’s point of view.
“This was the perfect setting to showcase the natural benefits of anodized metal,” said Zac Adams, senior project manager at SAF.
Adams explained that because the design was already approved prior to SAF’s involvement, an existing SAF system would not have met such precise design requirements.
“We took the design that was in place and really figured out how to fabricate it,” said Adams. “These are not traditional SAF systems. We essentially worked in reverse to fabricate panel designs that had already been signed off on. It gave us an opportunity to really show off our anodizing and the quality and customization we can achieve with metal fabrication.”
A Bridge to the Future
The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge will continue to serve as a vital connection point from the eastern United States into Canada. With the latest renovations, the structures that millions of travelers pass by yearly are now equipped with high-performance materials and a unique, custom design that gives the bridge a 21st-century look.
With the help of SAF, the project team and parties responsible for operating and maintaining the bridge kept the project on the path to completion without having to adjust the design. This saved time and money, and minimized frustrations.
This phase of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge project is still under construction. Anticipated completion date of the entire project is fall 2022.
In addition to SAF and Hogan Glass, the project team included contractor Turner Construction Company.