America's infrastructure is vast. And much of it is past its prime. Of the roughly 600,000 bridges in the U.S., approximately %40 are over 50 years old. And while there's much talk by politician about the need to inject more money and effort into building new bridges and replacing old ones, the approach has been piecemeal to date and the sheer volume of work required is overwhelming. Luckily, in many cases, full replacement isn't necessary and steel bridges can see their lives extended through rehabilitation of certain ares or components.
Since 1852, the Portage Viaduct has carried a rail line across the Genesee River Gorge, near the town of Portageville, New York. First made of timber, then replaced with a wrought iron structure after a destructive fire, the crossing became an icon for the community. Tasked with replacing the viaduct, bridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters worked with the community and the Norfolk Southern Railway Co. to create a new iconic arch bridge for the gorge.
Bridge renovations come with many challenges, and when a bridge is of historical significance, those challenges are often multiplied. Historical bridges bring about unique complications and often carry a profound importance for the communities where they stand. The Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana is one such bridge that, in its own right, serves as a landmark.
By using precast concrete pier caps in the design of the Southbound I-95 to Eastbound J.T. Butler Boulevard Flyover Bridge, Modjeski and Masters overcame significant issues during construction. Learn more about how the pier caps were designed not only as an aesthetic component of the bridge, but also an integral part of the collaborative process that made this project a success.
Since its construction in 1929, Modjeski and Masters has been deeply involved with the Ambassador Bridge. In the many decades since, through multiple owners and its growth into the busiest international crossing in North America, Modjeski and Masters has worked to keep the bridge maintained, but with an innovative twist to project delivery.
How do you rehab a 65-year-old bridge that serves as a key point of traffic relief and a route directly into downtown St. Louis with limited original structure information? This is a challenge the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Modjeski and Masters Inc. faced during a recent project on the Martin Luther King Bridge.