At Least 35 Dead in Bridge Collapse

Crews Begin U.S. 40 Bridge Makeover

Mon May 09, 2011 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero


Shown here is the existing U.S. 40 Bridge as it is today.
Shown here is the existing U.S. 40 Bridge as it is today.
Shown here is the existing U.S. 40 Bridge as it is today. Crews install 36-in. (91.4 cm) gabion baskets at the river for stream maintenance. Workers install steel beams for temporary access bridge crossing the river. Shown here is installation of triple 36-in. (91.4 cm) cmp for stream diversion under the access road.

This winter, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) began a major project to rehabilitate the U.S. 40 (Baltimore National Pike) Bridge over the Patapsco River, which connects Baltimore and Howard Counties. The project is a part of SHA’s bridge system preservation program.

The historic bridge was originally constructed in 1936. This particular type of concrete arch bridge design was rarely built in Maryland but is typically built over deep river valleys.

Although it is still structurally safe, the concrete bridge deck and other parts of the bridge will be replaced from the arches upward. The rest of the structure is deemed to be in good condition.

The project will include the removal and replacement of the deteriorated concrete deck and floor beams, replacement of all of the columns, and repairs to the remaining concrete portions of the original bridge.

The bridge rehabilitation work will extend the service life of the bridge an additional 30 to 50 years.

During construction, the bridge will remain open to traffic. The contractor will construct two 2-lane temporary bridges, one on each side of the existing bridge to carry eastbound and westbound U.S. 40 traffic across the Patapsco River while the bridge deck is removed and replaced.

There will be a period of approximately six months at the beginning and another six months at the end of the project where one westbound lane of traffic will be closed in order to build, and later remove, the temporary retaining walls supporting the temporary roadways.

The project began on Jan. 1 and will continue through Aug. 3, 2013. The total cost is $21 million, with funding coming from the USDOT/Federal Highway Administration’s federal bridge funding.

The contract was awarded to Corman Construction Company Inc., of Annapolis Junction, Md. Mitch Rubin is the project manager of Corman, and William “Bill” Kline is the SHA’s project engineer for the project.

Kline said that it is currently on schedule and added that the project begins approximately 600 ft. (182.8 m) east of the east end of the bridge and extends west for a total distance of approximately 0.4 mi. (0.64 km). The contract calls for the rehabilitation of the open spandrel concrete arch bridge, modification of the west approach roadways, and replacement of the superstructure from the concrete arch to deck and replacement of parapet walls.

“Work includes removing and replacing all of the deteriorated concrete deck and floor beams, replacing all columns, the parapet walls, and repairing the remaining concrete parts of the bridge,” Kline said.

He noted that maintaining a safe flow of traffic during construction presents a challenge, as this is a heavily traveled primary highway connecting Baltimore with Frederick and western Maryland.

“The bridge is located within a popular Maryland State Park, the Patapsco Valley State Park — Hollofield Area,” he said. “Surrounding the park is a high-density suburban residential and business area with several large shopping centers, auto retailers and many individual businesses having direct access to U.S. 40. In 2009, the Average Daily Traffic on U.S. 40 at the Baltimore/Howard County line was 37,530 vehicles per day (both directions).”

While restoration is being done, traffic flow will be maintained by a lane shift onto two temporary steel bridges with two 12-ft. (3.7 m) lanes each and a total clear roadway width of 30 ft. (9 m) each.

The project is currently in Phase One, and work on the structure has not yet begun. Currently, crews are placing Erosion and Sediment controls and stream maintenance controls in the work area.

“The number of inspection staff is currently at five persons, but will be increased as major structure work begins,” Kline said. “The contractor staffing will also vary, but at one point there have been as many as one superintendent, four foremen, five skilled, three semi-skilled, and 15 unskilled workers. Also, there are 17 subcontractors listed on the project that will perform work.”

Subcontractors include Ren Reinforcing Steel Company; Ackerman & Baynes for fabrication of miscellaneous metals; G.E. Frisco for lumber, brick, and construction material; Machado Construction for hauling concrete, sand, and stone; Aggregate Industries for stone, rock, and hauling waste to landfill; Janette Redrow Ltd. for brick and stone; Columbia Park Contractors for bridge maintenance and repairs; Alliance Concrete Co. for poured concrete foundations; Mark Lang Inc. for HMA and milling; Island Builders for sediment controls; Hardscape Construction for retaining walls and masonry; C. Jones Trucking for hauling stone and topsoil; Priceless Industries for pavement markings; Sunrise Safety Services for permanent signs and traffic signs; Seed and Site Solutions for seed and mulching; Von Eiff Inc. for petroleum products; and A to Z for clearing and grubbing.

The equipment list includes a Terex American HC 110 crane, a rubber-tired Grove RT528 crane; a Terex T-340 crane, a Cat D5 dozer, several dump trucks, Cat 312C, 324D, and 325C excavators, a Doosan DX140LC excavator, a Kubota KX121-3 mini-excavator, a Cat IT28G loader, a Cat 302.5 mini-excavator, numerous pickup trucks, a Volvo SD70D roller, a Cat 303R skid steer loader and several utility trucks. CEG