The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently began a bridge replacement project near the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va.
The $31.5 million project replaces the Route 27 (Washington Boulevard) bridge over Route 110 (Jefferson Davis Highway). Currently, the existing bridge carries three lanes of traffic in each direction and has a concrete sidewalk on each side and a 6-ft.-wide (1.8 m) concrete raised median. The bridge was built in 1941 and is considered structurally deficient.
The project was awarded to Judlau Contracting Inc. and work began in March 2015. Completion is expected by May 2018.
The contract calls for the bridge to be widened to accommodate a 14-ft. (4.3 m) shared-use path on the east side, and an 8-ft. (2.4 m) sidewalk on the west. The superstructure will be replaced and widened, increasing the length of the bridge to 470 ft. (143.3 m) by reconfiguring the end spans.
The new bridge superstructure also will be raised by more than 1.5 ft. (.45 m), increasing vertical clearance for westbound Route 110 to 16.75 ft. (5.1 m).
The existing slab vault structure behind the abutments will be completely replaced by two new piers and abutments, adding an additional span at each end of the bridge.
The new bridge superstructure will be shallower than the existing bridge superstructure, increasing the westbound Route 110 vertical clearance from 15 ft., 4 in. (4.7 m) to 17 ft. (5.2 m).
The bridge’s new aesthetics will reportedly include decorative wrought-iron picket fencing, LED road and pedestrian lighting, gateway pillars, and a recessed concrete pattern on the parapets. A unique feature will be signature medallions on the bridge’s gateway pillars honoring the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
“One of the biggest challenges for this project is certainly the volume of traffic on this major artery,” said Jennifer McCord of VDOT. “There are more than 71,500 vehicles per day on Washington Boulevard and more than 61,500 vehicles per day on Jefferson Davis Highway at the project location. Coupling this traffic volume with the bridge’s urban, high-profile location adjacent to the Pentagon, monitoring the impacts to commuters is a major priority. Our project team is working very closely with the Pentagon Police on a daily basis to ensure that traffic to this extremely important headquarters and beyond moves as smoothly as possible during construction.”
In addition, McCord noted that the work space is very tight on the 74-year-old bridge. Traffic was reduced from three lanes to two in each direction on Washington Boulevard to allow crews room to replace and widen the structurally deficient bridge.
VDOT plans to maintain a minimum of two lanes in each direction on both Routes 27 and 110, other than temporary night closures to install bridge girders. Pedestrian traffic will be shifted to a temporary bridge in 2016.
In the early stages of the project, crews are using smaller equipment such as excavators, small aerial lifts to work under the bridge, and Bobcats. They will be using cranes and drill equipment as construction progresses.
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