Taking Concrete Solutions to new Depths with Underwater Wire Sawing

Schuyler F. Heim Bridge Demolition

Location: Long Beach, CA
Service: Wire Sawing
Scale: 4,300 Cubic Yards cut into 250 pieces ranging from 14 to 72 Tons
Completion: April, 2019


The State of California was facing an expensive and lengthy redesign of a vital roadway. When a previous demolition contractor had failed in their attempt to use customized excavators to break and remove the bridge support structures, Penhall was contacted to remove the remaining debris field, damaged Pier structures and obstructions that prevented construction of support structure for the new bridge.

Penhall joined forces to perform underwater wire sawing to remove sections of the Schuyler F Heim Bridge in Long Beach, California. Wire saw, rig and pick concrete pier structures necessary to clear multiple areas and make way for new bridge pile foundations.

Penhall assembled and managed a team of contractors and divers to expose, cut and extract over 4,300 cu yards of Pier structure from under the Schuyler Heim Bridge. Over 250 separate pieces of concrete, ranging in size from 14 tons to 74 tons, were cut, rigged and removed from depths of up to -71′ below the surface of the Cerritos Channel. This process required over 40,000 square feet of wire sawing and 2500 lineal feet of core drilling to complete safely and ahead of schedule, allowing Caltrans to proceed with construction of the new bridge structure.

  • One of the main challenges was the jobs’ location, in the middle of the desert in Southern CA. All personnel, equipment, generators, supplies, fuel and sources had to be strategically brought in and stored in the desert.
  • Work was done around the clock. Crews switch off between 12-hour day and night shifts.
  • The project required precision of both vertical and horizontal cuts using wall and hand sawing.
  • Cutting was immediately followed by Penhall’s demolition crew who used excavators to remove the damaged concrete sections.
  • Eight wall saws ran day and night to perform the cutting and complete the project on time
  • In all, 20,000 cubic feet of concrete was removed from the CRA.

“We just got into a rhythm. It’s what we’re there to do… Our performance and schedule really spoke for themselves.”

– Chad Maddock, Penhall Company – Sr. Project Manager


You can check out the full video here:

“We just got into a rhythm. It’s what we’re there to do… Our performance and schedule really spoke for themselves.”