Pennstress helps DOT take six-bridge schedule from months to weeks

Capturing the essence of the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts initiative, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 5-0 hit a grand slam by initiating, awarding and successfully completing a milestone, multiple-bridge contract designed and constructed with precast concrete components. The 2017-18 project took place along Interstate 78 in Berks County; innovative construction practices, coupled with precast girders and abutment elements, reduced the schedule for each structure from several months to several weeks.

The SR 0183/Bernville Road bridge is the last of the six structures erected in the PennDOT 5-0 contract. In addition to the agency and producer Pennstress, the project team included contractor HRI Inc.; engineers Aecom, AWK, Benesch, Edman Anthony, JMT and Susquehanna Civil; and, High Steel Erectors.

From footings to decks, all six bridges in PennDOT’s I-78 project were completely designed and constructed with product fabricated by Pennstress of Roaring Spring, Pa., a member of PCI Mid-Atlantic, a Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute chapter. The project also utilized accelerated bridge construction practices including the innovative Precast Bridge Element System. Each bridge, which normally takes up to eight months to complete, was delivered in an average of 43 days. To put the six-bridge contract schedule into better perspective, PCI Mid-Atlantic notes, District 5-0 reduced the duration of construction impact, road closure to reopening for traffic, from approximately 48 months to 259 days.

The bridges encompass 540 precast/prestressed components across 687 linear feet of structure, with spans averaging 115 ft. A time-lapse video of one of the crossings can be viewed at