The Lackawanna Railroad Cutoff, constructed in the early 20th century, was a double track railway line constructed from Port Morris, NJ, to Slateford, PA. It crossed hills and valleys but never exceeded a gradient greater than 0.6% over its entire 28.45 miles of travel. The railway also maintained speeds of at least 70 mph even around the curves and was known for its use of reinforced concrete structures. The durability of these structures is proven by the fact that the County was able to utilize the structure for 97 years. When the century-old structure was recently deemed “structurally deficient” the County was in need of a replacement.
“Stone masonry arch bridges have been around for hundreds of years going back to the time of the Roman aqueducts” said Walter H. Cramp, P.E., Administrator, Department of Engineering & Planning - Sussex County Engineer. “This is testament to the durability of arches”
A 60-ft. x 193-ft. 3-in. BEBO® system, with precast modular components including precast headwalls was chosen as a replacement. The BEBO structure promised cost efficiency, a quick installation and a long life cycle with virtually no maintenance. In addition, the new structure was able to mimic the aesthetic appeal of the old structure by including faux window balustrade railings.
“The BEBO structure offered a rapid installation along with mimicking the aesthetic appeal of the adjacent old arch structure” stated Muzamil Husain, P.E., Project Engineer of the Louis Berger Group, Inc.
“For certain applications, particularly historical settings” added Cramp, “precast concrete arch bridges can provide a highly aesthetic alternative to more modern conventional bridge types and significantly accelerate tight project schedules due to their offsite fabrication with onsite modular construction installation”
The County also increased its overall width to accommodate two lanes of traffic, instead of just one and allowed for correction of an “S” curvature of the roadway. Now that the road is better aligned, motorists have gained better visibility along the Sparta-Stanhope Road (CR-605).