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TDOT SR 25 – Accelerated Bridge Construction in a Rural Setting

Built in 1954, the existing bridge over Liberty Branch Creek on State Route 25 in rural Sumner County had become structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after years of service. Additionally, peak-hour traffic volumes and the functional layout of SR 25 would not facilitate a traditional traffic control plan for this location. Recognizing the bridge was in need of major and time-consuming repairs in order to provide a reliable travel route for commuters, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) selected GS&P to serve as the design engineering firm for the rural bridge repair and improvement project. 
 
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The design team was assigned to develop a set of plans that would not only provide a reliable structure for years to come, but also address current traffic issues in terms of minimizing user costs and driver delays. GS&P’s design included minimal roadway widening, substructure modifications and the replacement of an existing two-span structure with a single-span superstructure utilizing precast box beams and full-depth precast deck panels.

The two-lane rural state route proved to be a challenging setting for the bridge rehabilitation project. Concerned that the location didn’t provide an adequate detour route to allow for a more traditional construction project, GS&P and TDOT determined that Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC)—a process that dramatically reduces construction time as well as long-term inconvenience to motorists—was by far the best solution. To address concerns associated with the rural location and the use of specialty ABC equipment, GS&P developed an alternate plan set utilizing readily available, traditional construction equipment and precast bridge elements that would allow the bridge to be built during a single-weekend road closure.
 
Starting Friday, July 31, 2015, at 8 p.m., TDOT closed a section of SR 25 just north of Liberty Lane to allow road crews to carry out around-the-clock repair work. This began with the demolition of the existing bridge superstructure and midstream bent. To minimize impact to the streambed, general contractor Rogers Group, Inc., removed the existing beam superstructure in sections using a mobile crane. The existing bent was removed in large pieces to lessen the impact to the natural environment. Erection of the new precast bridge elements began at 4 p.m. Saturday and was completed by 6 a.m. Sunday. This included the bridge beams, full-depth panels and abutment end blocks.
 
Once the precast bridge elements were in position, the contractor mixed and placed the concrete closure pours using a high-early-strength concrete mix that would gain strength in less than eight hours. During this time, work continued on the installation of the approach slabs. Paving of the approach roadway and sealing of the concrete deck began Sunday afternoon. The remaining work was completed by 11 o’clock Sunday evening, allowing the bridge to open a full six hours ahead of schedule. Final paving, striping and texture coating of the concrete surfaces were completed after the weekend closure without major impacts to traffic.
 
Recipient of ACEC of Tennessee’s 2017 Grand Award in the Small Projects category, the fast-tracked project was completed within a single weekend and has been identified as the prototype ABC project for rural bridge rehabilitation in Tennessee. Along with significantly reducing the project’s schedule—one weekend as opposed to four to six months that a more traditional phased construction approach would offer—the ABC process also resulted in significant sustainable and environmental benefits, including less disruption to the creek and reduced carbon emissions as protracted traffic delays were greatly reduced. The project represents the first rural ABC weekend-only closure project undertaken by TDOT. 

 

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Project Info

  • Client: Tennessee Department of Transportation | Structures Division | Bridge Inspection & Repair Office
  • Location: Sumner County, TN , USA
  • Market: Transportation
  • Services: Engineering, Civil Engineering
  • Team:
    • Ted A. Kniazewycz, P.E. PM, PP
    • Rodney C. Palmer PD
    • Gary Young PD
    • Larry Ridlen, P.E.
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