A high-traffic, two-lane crossing providing an east-west connection from the southwest section of Davidson and Williamson counties into Brentwood and Interstate 65, the existing bridge over Otter Creek on SR 254 in Davidson County had become structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after more than 50 years of service. Having worked on multiple projects together, TDOT solicited Gresham Smith’s guidance in determining the most feasible approach for repairing the aging structure. Turns out it was as easy as ABC.
mile section of Old Hickory Blvd
weekend road closure to complete
years estimated life span
A First-of-its-Type Method for the DOTAfter close collaboration with TDOT regarding the bridge’s current condition, we advised that the timeworn crossing was beyond repair, and that replacing the portion of the bridge that supported the deck was the only viable option. Because of the high traffic volumes along this stretch of SR 254 (Old Hickory Boulevard), we worked with TDOT to determine the most effective and expeditious way to carry out the bridge repairs.
It was ultimately decided that Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) offered the best solution. A first-of-its-type ABC method for TDOT, this short-term total closure of a 1-mile section of Old Hickory Boulevard would allow crews to carry out their work around the clock during a single weekend without being encumbered by road traffic.
The Clock Starts TickingStarting Friday, September 12, 2014 at 8 p.m., TDOT closed Old Hickory Boulevard from Chickering Road to Hillsboro Road to allow crews to replace the existing bridge. As part of the comprehensive project, we were tasked with developing a plan to utilize prefabricated superstructure units that could be constructed by the contractor at the project site, installed, and then joined together during the weekend road closure.
We Have Liftoff!Once the existing bridge and section of roadway was closed and traffic detoured, demolition commenced at 9 p.m. Just after 6 a.m. Saturday, the first superstructure unit was lifted off the ground by two cranes and then transferred to a third crane that moved it across the creek.
Putting the Pieces TogetherOnce both precast units were set in place, the concrete bridge rail was poured. By 10:30 a.m. the units were joined together using high-strength grout. The new superstructure with a projected life span of 75 years was opened to traffic by 8 p.m. Sunday, coming in 10 hours ahead of schedule.
ABCing the BenefitsExecuted without major long-term impact to motorists—and with minimal disturbance to the creek—the ABC process used in the new bridge over Otter Creek eliminated months of inconvenient traffic backups, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint, while saving end users in both fuel and maintenance costs. The project ultimately served as a prototype for a much larger urban project in downtown Nashville—TDOT’s Fast Fix 8.
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