SR 288 Bridge Accelerated Construction

JMT applied accelerated bridge construction techniques to design a bridge that was constructed and opened to the public in seven days.


Lawrence County, PA


Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

JMT was challenged by PennDOT District 11-0 to design a replacement bridge using Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) techniques so there was minimal disruption to the community of Wampum Borough, PA. The existing structure, a 60-foot concrete arch, carried SR 288 (Main Street) over Wampum Run and provided an important crossing for residents and the local trucking industry. Closing the bridge required a 22-mile detour that was both costly and inconvenient for the 4,500 vehicles that crossed the bridge each day.

Using ABC techniques, JMT’s structural engineers developed a cost-effective structure that could be completed in less than a month and would satisfy a critical goal of the project — minimize the impacts of the bridge closure. The project was let using A+Bx bidding. The minimum number of days the contractors could bid was nine days and the maximum the contractors could bid was 17 days. Joseph B. Fay was awarded the contract as the general contractor and they bid the minimum, nine days, to construct the new structure. Joseph B. Fay closed the bridge for seven days, constructed the new bridge in seven days and opened the bridge to traffic on August 24, 2014, well ahead of the original September 21, 2014 milestone date.

JMT examined multiple ABC techniques, but PennDOT ultimately chose the design alternative, which included a modular 78-foot steel rolled beam structure on prefabricated integral abutments. The design included several innovative techniques, allowing this bridge to be built in just seven days, the fastest this type of bridge has been built in Pennsylvania.

JMT’s design proposed precast units for the pile caps, wingwalls, cheekwalls, backwalls, approach, and sleeper slabs units. The concrete deck and barriers were cast to the steel beams offsite using conventional methods to create three modular units, and the beam modules were connected with ultra high performance concrete, a concrete with a 28-day strength of more than 22 ksi.

At the request of Wampum Borough, JMT provided an aesthetically pleasing bridge, designed the grading for the surrounding area for picnickers and tent campers, and provided an alternate barrier type to allow people crossing the bridge to see the waterfall upstream of the project. The residents of Wampum Borough were happy with the short construction period and pleased with the look of the new bridge.

ABC is a new concept to Pennsylvania and local contractors. JMT performed extensive research and provided our client with the knowledge demonstrating that this type of construction could be done successfully. Since PennDOT District 11-0 has witnessed this project’s success, the agency has considered building more bridges using ABC techniques.

This project received the 2014 National Accelerated Bridge Construction Conference Award as the Best ABC project in the Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems Category.