SALT LAKE CITY -- Transportation officials plan this weekend to slide a new 2.5 million-pound bridge into place using dish soap to grease the skids and reduce friction.
"As we slide the bridge, we're going to put the soap down, push it across, and everything should slip right into place," said Tony Lau, project engineer for the Utah Department of Transportation. "Normal, everyday, Dawn dish soap to reduce the friction and make it nice and slippery."
KSL-TV reports (http://bit.ly/oPS7KU) the soapy method will speed up the process, only shutting down eastbound Interstate 80 at Parleys Summit for about 14 hours from 10 p.m. Saturday to noon Sunday.
Officials say local traffic will be allowed to pass through by using the off-ramps during the move, but they are encouraging other drivers to find alternate routes or face hours-long delays. Westbound lanes of the interstate will remain open.
In the last few years, UDOT has replaced 15 bridges on I-80 but this is the first time dish soap will be used to slide one into place.
"You can imagine a two-and-a-half million pound bridge is pretty hard to push all on its own," Lau said.
UDOT has been building the new bridge alongside the old one, and will simply demolish that bridge and slide in the replacement using hydraulic ramps along with the dish soap.
"This technique is actually really good for saving time and money," Lau said.