Rain storms in 2007 in Rhode Island caused severe undermining to the previously deteriorating Peace Dale Stone Arch bridge, which was scheduled for full rehabilitation.
“The Peace Dale bridge was declared a ‘Type I Emergency’ by the Director of Transportation and was subsequently closed to traffic,” said David Fish, P.E., Managing Engineer with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). “During an inspection, it was noted that several large sink holes had formed on the bridge roadway. In addition, further movements/tilting were evident on the deteriorated south spandrel wall and the arch bases/ footings had been completely undermined.”
Combined with the poor condition of the crown of the stone arch and a collapsed headwall, this presented a safety problem for traveling motorists.
The RIDOT worked with Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants, Inc. to find a rehabilitation structure that could meet all of their criteria. The structure needed to be erected within the existing stone arch in order to maintain the existing historic look and also needed to be cost effective. The bridge also received a high amount of daily traffic with commuters traveling to the University of Rhode Island and an accelerated solution was important for RIDOT so the bridge could reopen as soon as possible.
Plate structures allow highway agencies and municipalities to dramatically reduce construction time and traffic disruptions when replacing aging infrastructure and are ideally suited for emergency bridge replacements. Several plate shape options were considered and a 21-ft.-10-in. x 5-ft.-8-in. x 32-ft. Aluminum Box Culvert from Contech was chosen for the application. It met the profile restraints, cost parameters and reline requirements.
Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants, Inc. designed the foundation and established the construction sequence. Cardi Corporation constructed the footings and assembled the plate structure on the exterior, downstream end of the existing structure and slid it into the formed keyway. Grout ports were provided to allow for the attachment of grout hoses to fill the void between the stone and the aluminum plate shape. The impact rated headwall was cast-in-place with moment slab and the new structure was rated for an HS-25 loading.
The Aluminum Box Culvert structure met all of RIDOT’s project needs. The plate installation took three days and grouting took two days for a total installation of one week. The road was closed for just over two months, a vast time savings when compared to the 12-month time frame that a complete bridge replacement would have required.
In the Summer of 2010, a separate contract for the stone work was completed that used the original stone that the RIDOT and the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission saved and catalogued from the 2007 construction. The stone arch was rehabilitated at a very effective cost and will extend the structure’s life for at least 50 years.