TDOT State Route 254 Over Otter Creek - Accelerated Bridge Construction Project

  • Michael Flatt

    Michael Flatt P.E.

    Division Vice President and State Transportation Leader - Tennessee Contact
Nashville, TN, USA
Tennessee Department of Transportation | Structures Division | Bridge Inspection and Repair Office
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 state Route 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 GS&P’s guidance in determining the most feasible approach for repairing the aging structure. After close collaboration with the Department regarding the bridge’s current condition, GS&P 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 volume of traffic along this stretch of Old Hickory Boulevard (SR 254), GS&P worked with the client to determine the most effective and expeditious means of carrying out the bridge repairs. It was ultimately decided that Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) provided 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 without being encumbered by road traffic. To be completed within a single weekend, the fast-tracked project included minimal roadway widening, substructure modifications, and full superstructure replacement and widening for the existing two-span bridge.
Starting 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, GS&P was 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 a single weekend road closure. 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. Once 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.
Executed 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, and saving end users in both fuel and maintenance costs. The innovative pilot project was awarded the Grand Iris Award (Best in Show) in the ACEC of Tennessee’s 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards program.

The Otter Creek pilot project was a tremendous success due in part to the development of detailed construction plans and the close coordination between the engineer, owner and contractor. The positive results taken from the project will be applied to future efforts, further enhancing the transportation network and the environment.

Terry D. Mackie, Project Manager, Bridge Inspection and Repair Office, TDOT

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