Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Project Wins Engineering Honors
The Bronx approach reconstruction project at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge won “Best Project of the Year” by a panel of industry experts from Engineering News Record.
The $212 million Capital project to reconstruct 2,091-feet of roadway at the Bronx approach to the bridge was completed two months ahead of schedule in September 2012. As a result, drivers now have wider 12-foot lanes and new safety shoulders for the first time in the bridge’s 74-year history.
The new approach viaduct includes 15 new double-arch piers, new steel girders and six lanes of new, reinforced roadway decking. The project also included adding a new fire standpipe system and new roadway lighting.
A judges’ panel of industry veterans based their choice for the Highways/Bridges “Best Project of the Year” on criteria including Teamwork; Safety; Innovation; Construction Quality and Craftsmanship; Functionality of Design and Aesthetics; and Overcoming Challenges.
Design contractor PB/Sells and construction contractor Conti of New York were recognized for their work on this Capital improvement project, which was awarded in 2008.
Project Manager Carl Redmond said the team put together by Bridges and Tunnels overcame many challenges and worked long and hard to complete the project ahead of schedule while maintaining five lanes of traffic for the nearly 5,000 vehicles an hour that use the bridge. Existing traffic capacity was maintained during peak drive times using a movable barrier that allowed the normal three lanes of traffic to the Bronx in the mornings and three lanes to Queens in the afternoon.
Another challenge was solved while building the new wider foundation piers beneath the bridge when contractors, working in a tight, confined space, came up with an innovative new way using a reverse circulation drilling method to drive mini piles into the ground while making sure that the ground beneath the original Bronx approach piers were not disturbed.
After being tested and approved by Bronx-Whitestone engineers, the method was used to install 772 mini piles. “As a result this portion of the project was finished three to five times faster than it would have been using traditional installation methods, allowing the project to stay on schedule,” said Redmond.
“While there were many engineering and construction challenges encountered and resolved during the course of this project, solving the drilling issue was by far the most significant and set the stage for a very successful partnering relationship between MTA Bridges and Tunnels and Conti for the remainder of the project,” said Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Facility Engineer Chris Saladino.