Hydraulic Flushing and Filtering Restores Function to CT Bridge

Niantic Bay Bridge prior to the hydraulic system upgrades.
Pi.1415926535, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As New England’s leading hydraulic fabrication and service providers, our team is always ready to respond to emergency calls at a moment’s notice. This was the case when we received a service request to perform flushing and filtering services on some sizable hydraulic power units at the Niantic Bridge. We received an urgent call from a Project Manager from Middlesex Corp., the General Contractor, who had worked with us in the past, asking DHI to come help meet the bridge reopening deadline. 

Rapid-Response Hydraulic Service Meets Tight Timeline

This aspect of the project commenced in March 2021 with a 2-week window permitted to close the bridge and complete renovations. But as the project reached the reopening deadline the contractor discovered that a critical operation had been overlooked and wasn’t included in the SoW (scope of work); the hydraulic system that actuates lifting and lowering the bridge needed a full flush and filtering service before the bridge could reopen for vehicular traffic. Without this, a brand new, critical system could fail — and with boating, beach, and tourist season rapidly approaching the Town of Niantic did not need this critical bridge closed. The state granted an additional 72-hour window to complete the task.

With no time to spare, the Devine Hydraulics mobile hydraulic service team swung into action, with owner and hydraulic expert Brian Devine leading the project. The following morning, new custom hydraulic hoses and hose fittings were produced at DHI’s facility, and after gathering the filtration and installation equipment this job would require, it was time to hit the road. Inspections revealed that errant debris could have been introduced into the hydraulic systems as all hoses, three pumps, new strainers, and a large proportional valve had been replaced during the construction process. Before restoring the system’s functionality, it would need to be flushed, and all hydraulic fluids would require thorough filtering to avoid contaminating the system. 

Reducing Risk and Safeguarding Critical Hydraulic Systems

The following day’s activity brought together electrical engineers, programmers, contractors, millwrights, mechanical engineers, and state inspectors to prepare the bridge for reopening. The DHI mobile hydraulic service team worked fervently throughout the day to flush, filter, inspect the system thoroughly. DHI returned the next day to monitor the hydraulic systems through testing at the project manager’s request. 

During the pre-startup checks, Brian noticed a spacing error in the couplers connecting the pumps to the motors. This issue could have immediately affected performance and could have caused damage to the entire system if it continued to run in the current configuration— a hard-to-spot risk that was unlikely to draw attention from anyone who was not an experienced hydraulic specialist. DHI adjusted each pump to correct the clearance between the couplers and ran tests to independently verify each pump’s pressures and set them according to prints. 

Trust the Hydraulic Experts at Devine

Finally, with electrical and mechanical systems functioning smoothly, the bridge was ready for operation. Testing proceeded smoothly, and, thanks to the quick response and hydraulic expertise of Devine Hydraulics, the bridge was able to reopen successfully. This bridge sees thousands of cars across the river daily and must be lifted for the larger commercial/pleasure boats to pass through. For many of our customers, the impact of delays due to unplanned hydraulic maintenance may not be as far-reaching but can be crucial to operations nonetheless. That’s why we treat every job with the same attention to detail and sense of urgency.

Contact Devine Hydraulics today and let our expert team keep your hydraulic systems operating at maximum efficiency for years to come.