Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Wins Grand Prize

Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge wins the Grand Prize in the 2016 AASHTO America’s Transportation Awards.

“This year’s Grand Prize winner, the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge—is another perfect example of what this competition is about,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “This spectacular new addition to New Haven’s skyline is one of the largest projects in the Connecticut DOT’s history. And it was delivered ahead of schedule and on budget, improving safety, relieving congestion and enhancing travel options for tens of thousands of daily commuters.”

Effecting extensive multimodal improvements on I-95 and the surrounding road network through New Haven, Lochner provided construction engineering and inspection services for the greater I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Improvement Program. The centerpiece of this program is the $554 million replacement of the existing Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge with a new 10-lane signature structure – the first vehicular extradosed cable-stayed bridge in the United States – and connections for several major Interstates and the Gateway Terminal, one of the busiest ports in the country.

For this largest single construction contract ever awarded by Connecticut DOT, Lochner provided construction engineering and inspection services for the new 4,600-foot, 23-span Q-Bridge. The extradosed cable-stayed main span has a cast-in-place concrete superstructure that uses balanced cantilever construction, and the bridge’s maximum span over the Quinnipiac River’s navigable channel is about 515 feet. The bridge construction includes two anchor piers and two tower piers, up to 140 feet above the river, as well as 128 stay cables that consist of 15-mm strands, individually sheathed in HDPE stay pipes, and LED aesthetic and memorial lighting. The approach spans are comprised of steel plate girders with a concrete deck. Latex modified concrete is used as a wearing surface on all spans for skid resistance and longer service life for the structure. Due to a widely varying depth of bedrock, the west approach spans are founded on precast concrete friction piles, and the main span and east approach spans are founded on end-bearing drilled shafts.

The demolition of the existing bridge was a challenging aspect of the project and had to be performed in accordance with stringent environmental permit requirements issued by federal and state agencies, such as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Lochner was also in frequent communication with the U.S. Coast Guard, as channel closures were necessary for some construction and demolition operations. Close coordination was also needed with contractors from adjacent projects being constructed concurrently and with P&W Railroad in relation to work performed adjacent to, and over, an active freight line.

Other major components of this complex project overseen by Lochner inspectors included the construction of tower and anchor piers and trestles in the water, the installation and testing of piles and shafts, the stressing of the stay cables, the geometry control associated with balanced cantilever construction, longitudinal and transverse post-tensioning, and the placement of concrete deck and the latex modified concrete wearing surface, all within an environmentally sensitive and regulated area.

The bridge’s northbound lanes were opened to I-95 northbound traffic in June 2012 and to southbound traffic in July 2013. The existing bridge was then demolished, and construction of the new southbound bridge began in its footprint. The southbound bridge was opened to four lanes of traffic in September 2015. Prior to opening to traffic, a community celebration and dedication ceremony was held on top of the bridge with over 9,000 people in attendance.

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