Two structures were needed to cross an existing road and to complete an 8,000 foot length of rail trail that had recently been extended in the City of Northampton, Massachusetts.
The abutments and approaches for the two necessary structures were located within a National Grid right of way and adjacent to active Pan Am railroad train tracks. Because of the tight proximity to both live electric power lines and active railroad tracks, the logistics of the installation were quite complex and required a massive amount of effort to coordinate. To complicate things further, the access to the site was via narrow urban streets, with limited maneuvering room, traffic and other multiple obstructions.
Two Continental® Gateway® style truss bridges - measuring 12-ft. x 96-ft. and 12-ft. x 66-ft. - were chosen to meet the project guidelines and challenges.
The truss structures were installed quickly and efficiently with minimal road closure time.
“The erection crew prepared the bridges for placement within a few hours,” stated Nic Reitzel, P.E., engineer of Huntley Associates. “Installation was performed in less time, minimizing down time for both National Grid and Pan Am Railway. The culmination of the coordination efforts resulted in the bridges being lowered to the mounting bearing plates onto the eight receiving bolts, all within 1/4” tolerance and without a hitch.”
In addition, because the rail trails encourage alternative transportation, the project was considered “green” by the local community. A small crowd attended the installation.
“Upon completion of the installation, the crowd let out a cheer of applause showing their support for the completion of a critical part of the Manhan Rail trail project, “ adds Reitzel.