In summer 2003, heavy rains and flooding caused a bridge
carrying Strasburg Road over Broad Run creek to collapse.
Due to traffic volumes and recent residential development in
this once-rural community, along with a lengthy detour on
adjacent, busy roads, time was essential for the Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in repairing or
replacing the bridge.
However, restoration of the bridge proved to be a
complicated task. A number of factors played major roles
in the design and completion of the project. Broad Run, an
important tributary of Brandywine Creek, was classified as an
environmentally protected Exceptional Value watershed. The stream also supports a population of
brown trout, whose spawning needs and sensitivity to sediment had to be considered. Additionally,
the bridge is adjacent to a prime bog turtle habitat.
Because the project was deemed an emergency replacement, time and cost efficiency were also
high priorities. A precast CON/SPAN concrete arch was selected to allow construction to proceed
quickly. The clear span structure could alleviate environmental concerns over impact on the stream
and also allowed for replication of the original bridge’s aesthetic quality.
Consulting engineer Urban Engineers began design for the project on a fast track. During
construction, a cold snap initially prevented final paving, but some unexpected warm weather
allowed the bridge roadway to be paved and opened by January 2006.
The ASHE Delaware Valley Section awarded the project as Project of the Year for 2006.