Modjeski and Masters was tasked by Norfolk Southern to study the existing Portageville Railroad Trestle to determine if the structure could be rehabilitated or replaced. The work started with an in-depth inspection and rating of the existing structure which was originally constructed in 1875. This confirmed the near-exhausted useful life and limited load-carrying capacity of the existing bridge which necessitated a replacement.
Modjeski and Masters engineers developed conceptual bridge replacement designs which ranged from a modern-day version of the existing truss bridge to an iconic steel arch spanning the entire width of the gorge. The concepts were showcased through a Visual Impacts Analysis (VIA), from which the latter concept – an iconic long span steel arch – was advanced to preliminary design.
During the preliminary design phase, we provided rigorous engineering services to establish structure and track geometry (including the arch’s impressive 483-foot main span), member sizing, and coordination with Letchworth State Park.
Norfolk Southern asked Modjeski and Masters to design critical repairs for the existing bridge to allow service to continue for the next 3 years until the new bridge could be completed.
Construction started on the New Portageville Bridge with a ground breaking ceremony on October 28, 2015. Shown here is construction progress as of December 7, 2016 with ongoing erection of the approach piers and excavation for the arch skewback.
With construction completed on the substructure units, construction began on the approach girder superstructure and the 483-foot main arch span. Shown here is progress on the cantilevered construction of the arch components as of July 12, 2017. Construction would continue for another several months.
A major project milestone occurred on July 26, 2017 when the cantilevered spans, that were being erected from each side of the Genesee river, were connected. This photo shows moments after the final beam connection was made a few days later by workers from the project contractor, American Bridge Company.
On December 11, 2017, the new Portageville Bridge received it's first train (NS Train 36T) at 2:20pm. Work to finish paining the bridge and grade the surrounding landscape would continue into 2018.
To-Date, the Portageville Bridge Replacement Project has received several awards including the ABCD Susquehanna Chapter "Outstanding New Long Span Bridge" and the ABCD Western New York Chapter "Outstanding New Bridge over $2 Million".