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IH-70 Ramp A
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back buttonMedium and Short Span Bridges

RFK Bridge Manhattan Approach Ramps Reconstruction

| New York, NY

  • Client:

    Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, doing business as MTA Bridges and Tunnels
  • Service:

    Medium and Short Span Bridges
  • Status:

    Completed
  • Overview

    The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (RFK) was built in 1936 and consists of three bridge structures and two toll plazas. The bridge also includes elevated viaducts and a junction structure, which facilitate traffic distribution between three boroughs. The three bridges are the East River Suspension Span, the Harlem River Lift Span, and the Bronx Kill Truss.

    The RK-23 project involves the study and design for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Manhattan approach ramps on the RFK Harlem River Lift Span. The project studied rehabilitation alternatives and involved complete replacement of the concrete cellular portions of the on- and off-ramp structures and replacement of the roadway deck on the steel portions of the structures. Lightweight EPS Geofoam was used for the replacement of the concrete cellular spans. The steel portion of the ramp structures were analyzed for compliance with current seismic requirements. A unique solution was developed for the structure to resist current seismic loading by use of a “floating deck” whereby the deck and stringer system is isolated from the subframing and slender steel rigid-frame columns. This system also resulted in the removal of the majority of the existing expansion joints, thereby creating a more maintenance-free structure.

    The project also included replacement of deck joints, barriers, lighting, drainage and utilities such as power and telecommunications. Improvements to overall ramp geometry and configuration were also included in order to enhance traffic flow and correct safety-related defects. Temporary ramp structures and staged construction were used to maintain traffic during construction.

    The cost-effectiveness of the rehabilitation option was clearly demonstrated when comparing the rehabilitation and replacement solutions. The originally developed replacement cost was estimated by others to cost as much as $200 million and would have been more disruptive to traffic and the local community in this highly congested area of Manhattan. The Modjeski and Masters-developed rehabilitation solution cost roughly $70 million, only a small percentage of which went to the cost of isolation bearings and the installation of the additional seismic retrofits.

    This successful and first-ever major rehabilitation project for the Manhattan ramps of the RFK Bridge will serve the community well for years to come.
  • Description

    Tasks Performed
    • Preliminary & Final Rehabilitation Design
    • Rehabilitation Inspection
    • Highway/Interchange Design
    • MPT Staging
    • Seismic Analysis & Retrofit
    • Structural Analysis
    • Construction Support

    Bridge Geometry
    • Length of Main Span – 60 Feet (Typical)
    • Total Project Length – 800 feet
    • Lanes on Structure – Two lanes, two sidewalks
  • Testimonial

    “The earlier than anticipated ramp reopening is a welcome milestone in this project, which is part of the multi-year $1 billion Capital Program investment in our flagship 80-year-old bridge.” - Donald Spero, President , MTA Bridges and Tunnels
  • Credits

    Quentin Johnson, PE (Project Principal)
    Blaise Blabac, PE (Project Manager)
    Dr. Barney Martin, PE (Senior Technical Advisor)
    Thomas Cole, PE (Lead Structural Engineer)
    Michael Januszkiewicz, PE (Bridge Inspection Team Leader)
    Seth Darley, PE (Bridge Inspector)
    Michael Bonadonna (Highway Engineer)