Quality Crossings

Recognized for excellence in concrete bridge design and construction, 10 projects have been named in Portland Cement Association’s Tenth Biennial Bridge

Recognized for excellence in concrete bridge design and construction, 10 projects have been named in Portland Cement Association‘s Tenth Biennial Bridge Awards Competition. Roads and Bridges magazine was a co-sponsor of this year’s program, recognizing:

  • The Guadalupe County I-40 Overpass Bridges, Guadalupe County, N.M.
  • Elk Avenue/Doe River Bridge Rehabilitation, Elizabethtown, Tenn.
  • Moose Creek Bridge, Timmins, Ontario
  • Perry Street Bridge, Napoleon, Ohio
  • Brady Street Bridge, Milwaukee
  • University Avenue Arched Pier Bridge over I-74, Peoria, Ill.
  • Four Bears Bridge, New Town, N.D.
  • Noyo River Bridge, Fort Bragg, Calif.
  • County Road 453 over Battleground Creek Bridge, Coupland, Texas
  • Wapello County Mars Hill Bridge, Iowa

The 2006 program attracted 79 entries from the U.S. and Canada, covering a variety of structure types and construction methods. All bridges were completed between June 2004 and March 2006. Winning projects Û a representative sampling of which is featured here Û were selected on the basis of creativity, functionality, and economy by a jury of three bridge professionals: Daniel Dorgan, state bridge engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation; Mary Lou Ralls, Ralls Newman, LLC, Austin, Texas; and, Louis Triandafilou, high performance structural materials specialist, FHWA Resource Center, Baltimore. The winning projects and teams behind them will be formally recognized at the American Concrete Institute’s Fall Convention in Denver. The next installment of the bridge awards is scheduled for 2008.


As these routine highway overpass structures provide an entryway to Guadalupe County and the state of New Mexico, aesthetics were a priority in planning and building the three two-span, continuous precast/prestressed concrete bridges. Innovative use of form liners facilitated the incorporation of Southwestern-style artwork into mechanically stabilized earth retaining walls, wingwalls, piers, and barrier rail.

To minimize fill requirements and maintain the necessary under clearance, four 54-in. U-beams were selected in lieu of five 63-in. I-beams for typical 105-ft. 8-in. spans. Judicious application of high strength, high performance concrete, prestressing strand in the top flanges of the beams, spread footings, and semi-integral abutments resulted in economical, durable, and attractive structures.

Project Principals

Owner: New Mexico Department of Transportation

Engineer: New Mexico Department of Transportation Bridge Section

Contractors: Reiman Corp.; James Hamilton

Precaster: Coreslab Structures

Concrete suppliers: RER Ready Mix; Costillo Ready Mix Concrete


Designated by judges a showcase for an all-prefab bridge, the first fully prefabricated integral abutment span in North America utilized six 47-in.-deep pretopped precast/prestressed I-beams on 8-ft. centers extending 72 feet. The beams were pretopped with an 8-ft.-wide and 9.5-in.-thick deck. The adjacent decked beams were joined together by a 16-in.-wide cast-in-place closure joint with interlocking looped reinforcing bars. To accommodate beam camber, the deck was gradually thickened from 9.5 inches at midspan to 11.5 inches at the prefabricated abutments. A key design consideration was to limit the sizes and weights of prefabricated units for ease of shipping and handling.

Project Principals

Owner: Ministry of Transportation, Ontario

Engineer: Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Contractor: Miller Paving (Northern) Ltd.

Precaster: Pre-Con Inc.

Ready mixed supplier: Custom Concrete


Using a precast tied arch to simultaneously span the Dry Run Creek and act as a center pier for the two-span bridge provided an unconventional solution, reducing pier construction time from two months to 2.5 days. Decorative precast bollards were placed as needed, while a limestone form liner was used on the walls of vaulted abutments to create a hand-laid stone appearance. Parapets were built with a smooth form liner using self-consolidating concrete mixes.

Project Principals

Owner: Illinois Department of Transportation

Engineer: Alfred Benesch & Co.

Contractor: Walsh Construction Co.

Precaster: Prestressed Engineering Corp.

Ready mixed supplier: Construction Materials


Site constraints drove the bridge’s distinctive design features and picturesque profile. Erecting the three-span, four-lane, cast-in-place post-tensioned box girder bridge Û 874 feet long with 327-ft. main span Û involved a staged construction, as the new bridge alignment was the same as the old one; mass concrete application; and, engineering for high seismicity with soil liquefaction. In addition to addressing environmental issues that included protection of marine life, Native American concerns, and fishing industry interests, the contractor fulfilled the public’s aesthetic aims in preserving views of the harbor through the bridge and of the jetty below.

Project Principals

Owner, engineer, and architect: California Department of Transportation

Contractor: MCM Construction Inc.

Ready mixed suppliers: Granite Construction; Baxman Gravel


Precast was indispensable in replacing an existing 700-ft.-long, seven-span, filled-arch concrete bridge in one year Û at the same location without disturbing the river bed. Designers capitalized on several recent developments: variable depth precast modules, spliced-girder technology, pretopped decked girders, and biaxial post-tensioning. New 60-in. diameter shafts were drilled through existing piers. After the existing roadway was closed to traffic in February 2005, the new bridge was opened nine months later.

Project Principals

Owner: Ohio Department of Transportation

Engineer: HNTB Corp.

Precaster and contractor: Fru-Con Construction

Ready mixed supplier: Dielman Concrete