Bridge construction at Kinsley has never looked like this. What could take multiple construction seasons to build can now be done in just one, thanks to precast bridges and accelerated construction methods. In recent years, more owners are selecting these methods because they shorten the project schedule, ensure quality, are durable and can be made to aesthetically fit the owner’s preference.
Our Highway and Bridge crews are gearing up to utilize precast bridges on the Wire Mill Bridge project in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the SR 441 River Road Bridge in Bainbridge, Pennsylvania. Crews at the Wire Mill project will be replacing the existing bridge with a precast two-span, four-lane bridge and pedestrian walkway. As the new bridge components – including the footings, abutment walls, pier stem and pier cap – are cast at the manufacturing facility, other work associated with the project will be performed on site to help shorten the overall project schedule. The bridge deck and barrier walls will be constructed using standard cast-in-place methods. By utilizing a precast bridge construction method, the project will be complete in one construction season which also helps minimize the environmental impacts of in-stream work.
Our crews at the SR 441 River Road Bridge project are performing an accelerated bridge replacement using precast deck panels and ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) to create a new 144-foot-long by 43-foot-wide bridge. The conventional method of bridge construction includes forming, pouring and curing the bridge deck, which can take approximately two months (depending on the concrete strength). The accelerated process of using precast deck panels eliminates the conventional deck pour, including installing deck pans and tying rebar. However, this method does create gaps between each panel, which need to be filled – this is where the UHPC comes in. This concrete obtains a much higher concrete strength in a much shorter time; it can reach 14,500 psi in just four days of curing. By utilizing the precast deck panels and UHPC, this shaves about four to five weeks of work off of the project schedule just for the concrete pouring and curing phase.
While there is a higher cost associated with utilizing an accelerated bridge construction process, it provides higher quality and drastically shortens the length of the project. This, in turn, minimizes disruptions to traffic and the impact of construction on the environment. With these advantages, our team is excited to deliver our first accelerated bridge replacement projects and are hopeful that there will be more to come in the future.