Looking To The Future

Editorial by John D. Armeni, ASBI President 2009-2010

We are very pleased to welcome W. R. “Randy” Cox as ASBI’s new Manager in 2009 following a 27 year career with the Texas Department of Transportation. For the past four years, Randy served as TX DOT’s Bridge Division Director.

While it is clear that 2009 will be a challenging year economically, we are confident that the use of segmental construction will continue to grow in 2009 and beyond. The cost competitiveness of segmental construction in comparison to steel is reflected in a redesign now underway for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Commission Project on the Mon/Fayette Expressway, Section 51H. This project was designed with a steel plate girder superstructure featuring a 518 foot navigational main span over the Monongahela River. The project is being redesigned by FIGG as a Contractor Alternate Cast-in-Place Segmental Bridge for Walsh Construction Company as the low bidder on July 23, 2008.

The unstable price of gasoline in 2008 and the current state of the economy has dramatically increased interest in light rail for commuters. The Seattle Sound Transit Light Rail Project completed in 2008 is the latest U.S. demonstration of the significant advantages of segmental technology for light rail projects. On this project, segmental construction reduced construction time, lowered cost about 15 percent, minimized interference with traffic by using an overhead gantry to erect segments, provided an aesthetically pleasing appearance, and was designed to meet high seismic needs. Major light rail projects using segmental construction are now being developed in Honolulu, Miami, and Washington, D.C.

Segmental construction has been widely used in recent design-build projects in the U.S. and Canada. Design-build project delivery was used very successfully for the Victory Bridge in New Jersey, the Otay River Bridge near San Diego, the Penobscot Narrow Bridge and Observatory in Maine, and the I-35W Bridge Replacement Project in Minneapolis. These projects are all illustrative of the potential of segmental construction for accelerated bridge construction.

In closing, it is our purpose as ASBI Members to continue to communicate the substantial benefits and advantages of segmental construction (as discussed above). Building on the achievements of recent years, there is a great opportunity to keep the momentum going in the future.