This project includes the replacement of an existing bascule bridge with a new vertical lift bridge over the environmentally sensitive Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Virginia. The project features 12-foot-diameter drilled shaft foundations, 225-foot structural steel lift towers, and the float-in of a 2,400-ton lift span. PCL is building this project in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the City of Chesapeake.
As a major commuter route in Hampton Roads, Virginia, this bridge services approximately 35,000 vehicles per day. The project team conducted a traffic study during construction and developed a traffic control plan with the client to eliminate construction delays for approximately 3,700 motorists per day. This plan was coordinated with the United States Coast Guard to maintain full access for heavy commercial and recreational vessels that require approximately 20 bridge openings per day.
One of the client’s goals was to ensure that the adjacent Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge remained in service and undamaged during construction of the new foundations. The project team accomplished this by employing an innovative zero-vibration technology from Europe to install the drilled shafts. The project team further leveraged this technology and worked with the client to redesign the drilled shafts, which provided $420,000 in cost savings to the client. As a means of reducing impacts to motorist, maritime traffic, and the railroad, PCL elected to use an accelerated bridge construction (ABC) method by constructing the main truss offsite and floating it into the project, thus completing the operation in hours, not days.