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Life-Cycle Engineering Services | EXPANDED

Modjeski and Masters is pleased to announce the acquisition of structural engineering firm Summit Engineering Group, Inc. Our combined engineering prowess and respective technical skillsets will enable us to provide streamlined design and construction solutions to best meet client needs.

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Shellpot Swing Bridge Rehabilitation

| View Projects:USA Wilmington, DE

  • Client:

    Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • Service:

    Railroad Services
  • Status:

    Completed
  • Overview

    The Port of Wilmington has traditionally served as a major hub of commerce between the Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern United States. But an increasingly competitive marketplace threatened to compromise its elite status. In order to maintain their leadership role, Norfolk Southern partnered with the Delaware Department of Transportation to improve rail service efficiency throughout the state. Doing so meant restoring the historic Shellpot swing bridge connection between the Port of Wilmington and Norfolk Southern’s Edgemoor Yard, key components for the distribution of bulk commodities and produce. To solve this challenge and meet their goals, Norfolk Southern called on a trusted firm familiar with swing bridge engineering: Modjeski and Masters.

    Built in 1888, the 252-ft. wrought-iron through truss swing bridge had been decommissioned for 10 years prior to Modjeski and Masters’ evaluation and detailed inspection. To restore the swing bridge to operating condition, the design team developed a sustainable solution to rehabilitate and reuse the swing span truss, pivot pier, and approach superstructure. The swing bridge, together with newly-designed electrical and mechanical components, was raised above the flood zone. Our electrical design also included an innovative system allowing for safe remote control of the swing bridge by the railroad’s dispatchers, located in Harrisburg, PA. New concrete approach piers with prestressed concrete piles and new fender protection system were used to complement the salvaged components, thus breathing life back into the sleeping giant.

    Upon its successful completion, then-Governor of Delaware Ruth Ann Minner guided the ceremonial running of the first Norfolk Southern locomotive across the new Shellpot Bridge.  Successful completion of past projects, similar to the Shellpot Bridge, has helped forge our long-term relationship with Norfolk Southern. They placed their trust in our people, and in our experience as active partners, to restore a critical link connecting essential commodities with consumers in Delaware and beyond.

  • Description

    Tasks Performed
    • In-Depth Inspection
    • Railroad Services
    • Load Capacity Rating
    • Rehabilitation – Design (Preliminary & Final)
    • Electrical/Mechanical Inspection & Rehabilitation
    • Construction Support & Inspection
    • Green Engineering

    Bridge Geometry
    • Length of Main Span - 252 feet
    • Total Project Length - 740 feet
    • Tracks on Structure - one tracks
  • Testimonial

    “Reopening the Shellpot Bridge positions rail service in Delaware as a first class transportation option. […] We expect all Port [of Wilmington] customers to benefit from this improved rail service.”- Nathan Hayward III, then Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary
  • Credits

    Leon K. Huang, PE (Principal In Charge)
    Kevin W. Johns, PE (Project Manager / Lead Engineer)
    Lance Borden, PE (Electrical Lead)
    Jeff Newman, PE (Mechanical Lead)