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Hawk Falls Bridge Replacement Proceeds in Pennsylvania

Thu November 30, 2023 - Northeast Edition #25
Brenda Ruggiero – CEG Correspondent


The general contractor is Trumbull Corporation and the construction manager is STV Inc.
(Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo)
The general contractor is Trumbull Corporation and the construction manager is STV Inc. (Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo)
The general contractor is Trumbull Corporation and the construction manager is STV Inc.
(Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo) The Hawk Falls Bridge Replacement Project is part of the continuing improvements scheduled for the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Northeast Extension (I-476).
(Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo) This project includes the complete replacement of the Hawk Falls Bridge (NB-610), milepost A-88.59, and the nearby Hickory Run Road Bridge in Carbon County, Pa.
(Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo) The $88 million project began in the fall of 2021 and the projected end date is fall 2025.
(Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo) The existing bridge is scheduled for replacement because it is nearing the end of its design service life and considered functionally obsolete due to lack of roadway shoulders.(Aerial and drone services by Keystone Aerial Cam Ltd. of Pa. photo)

The Hawk Falls Bridge Replacement Project is part of the continuing improvements scheduled for the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension (I-476).

This project includes the complete replacement of the Hawk Falls Bridge (NB-610), milepost A-88.59, and the nearby Hickory Run Road Bridge in Carbon County, Pa.

The $88 million project began in the fall of 2021 and the projected end date is fall 2025.

The general contractor is Trumbull Corporation and the construction manager is STV Inc. Modjeski and Masters Inc. serves as the design consultant.

The project is approximately one month behind schedule at this time, according to Kathleen Walter, communications manager of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

"The bridge foundations are complete," Walter said of the progress in late October 2023. "The steel superstructure erection is under way. We will need to shift traffic for the demolition of the existing structure after the deck is placed and the new roadway is complete."

Walter reported that this project is funded entirely by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, with no federal or state tax dollars involved.

The existing Hawk Falls Bridge (Bridge NB-610) is a 738-ft.-long, three-span deck truss bridge with deck I beam approach spans. It carries two lanes of Turnpike traffic in each direction over Mud Run in Penn Forest Township and Kidder Township, Carbon County.

The existing bridge is scheduled for replacement because it is nearing the end of its design service life and considered functionally obsolete due to lack of roadway shoulders.

The replacement Hawk Falls Bridge will be a 720-ft.-long steel structure featuring a 480-ft. deck arch span flanked by four 60-ft. deck plate girder spans. As with the current bridge, the new bridge will carry two traffic lanes in each direction, but it will also provide 12-ft. wide outside shoulders and 6-ft. wide median shoulders.

Three welded, steel box arch ribs will be utilized to create an aesthetically pleasing structure that spans the deep Mud Run Valley located within Hickory Run State Park.

The Hickory Run Road Bridge, located directly to the north of the Hawk Falls Bridge, also will be replaced with this project. This three-span overpass bridge, measuring 111 ft. in length, carries the PA Turnpike over PA State Route 534. It will be replaced with a new 120-ft. long, single-span bridge. By eliminating the two existing concrete piers, the new bridge will provide a more open feel for travelers on Hickory Run Road, and also provides room for future roadway upgrades on this vital link through Hickory Run State Park.

To maintain smooth and consistent traffic flow on the Turnpike during construction, both new bridges will be constructed on a new roadway alignment just east of the current alignment. Once completed, traffic will be shifted to the new structures with only minor traffic control measures needed to complete the transitional roadway.

Environmental controls will reportedly be installed by the contractor. They include erosion and sedimentation controls to slow and filter the natural stormwater runoff during construction prior to its entering natural lands or the surrounding waterways, which protects aquatic life. Special restrictions have been placed on construction in the adjacent stocked and wild trout streams.

One of the challenges with the project noted by Walter is the arch rib erection.

"It requires large cranes as proposed by the contractor," she said. "Maintaining traffic is a challenge, as is for most Turnpike bridge projects."

Other challenges reported include environmental sensitivity due to the Hickory Run State Park and access to the bottom of the gorge for temporary foundations.

Walter also reported that the steel arch main span is a unique bridge type.

"Due to (an) increase in traffic and age of (the) existing crossing, a replacement structure is warranted," she said.

The total bridge length is 720 ft., with a 465-ft. main span length. The total project covers 1.5 mi.

For the main bridge only, the project involves 2,050 cu. yds. of Class AAA concrete, 502 cu. yds. of Class AA and 2,720 cu. yds. of Class A.

Structural steel for the one main bridge totals 6.6 million lbs.

Major subcontractors for the project include H&K Group, asphalt paving, Skippack, Pa.; Joseph B. Fay, demolition subcontractor, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Structural Services Inc., steel erection subcontractors, Nazareth, Pa.; and High Steel Structures, LLC, fabricator/supplier for the structural steel, Lancaster, Pa.

Cranes currently being used on the job include a Liebherr LR 11000 1,200-ton crane, which is a rental from Buckner Heavy Lift LLC in North Carolina; and a Manitowoc 2250 owned by Trumbull. CEG




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