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In the fall of 2015, a large national telecommunication provider reached out to K&W Underground regarding a major fiber relocation project which involved a 2600-foot bridge attachment on the underside of the 9 Highway (Heart of America) Bridge over the Missouri River. This relocation involved rerouting a 288 count and two 144 count fibers supplying service north of the river and were all currently attached to a nearby railroad bridge. Their vulnerability in their existing routing allowed these cables to be repeatedly compromised over the years causing widespread outages and railroad disruption during repairs.

The need became obvious for a more stable and secure routing to help prevent these seemingly recurring instances from happening. In addition to the bridge attachment was a substantial amount of aerial work as well. Each of these fiber cables would require routing back to their nearest existing splice locations – each location varying throughout the city.

Nearly a year of planning, engineering, and approvals took place to make this reroute possible. It involved cooperation with not only the city of Kansas City, Mo but the Levee District, Missouri Department of Transportation, and Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railroads as well. Once all the details had been ironed out, K&W Underground hit the ground running to get this project underway.

Bridge attachment subcontractor crews began in early November hanging the specialty brackets and assembling the 4” steel pipe high above the Missouri River and its adjacent rail yards. Utilizing an extension boom truck from the road above wasn’t an option thus making the project even more logistically challenging. Access could only be obtained by lifts at limited access points below and utilizing an existing catwalk on the bridge’s underside.

Once the bridge attachment was underway, K&W aerial crews began thousands of feet of prep work regarding the 3 cables being replaced. Some new underground construction took place as well to join the existing routing to the new path. Having a splicing cut over deadline in early December, time was of the essence and any unforeseen challenges or weather delays could be critical.

The attachment was completed late in November and preparation began for pulling the cables across the bridge in the new 4-inch pipe. Typically, fiber pulls are broken up with assist or “slack” points however pulling out hundreds of feet of 3 different cables in the limited confines of the bridge catwalk would have been extremely challenging and potentially jeopardize the completion deadline. Therefore, pulling all three cables at once was decided in which break away devices would be utilized to ensure cable pulling limitations weren’t exceeded. After a couple of long days, long nights and a few unforeseen challenges along the way, the fiber was successfully installed the entire 2600-foot length of the bridge.

With the bridge fiber pull complete, aerial crews then went to work to get the fiber cables routed to their respective splice locations. Cables were lashed in place, splicing was completed, and yet another crucial deadline had been made thanks to all the hard work from those involved.

K&W takes special pride in their commitment to accepting challenges and continually exceeding customer’s expectations – and this project was no exception. Special thanks go to the telecommunications provider for the opportunity, K&W’s project management, construction, aerial, and fiber installation crews as well as our bridge attachment subcontractor partner for making this project a great success for all.

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