Friday, July 30, 2010

Grant Enables Innovative Bridge Design

Innovation has been at the heart of MoDOT's Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program since it began just under two years ago. Innovative contracting, design, construction methods and materials have allowed MoDOT to pursue the replacement or repair of more than 800 bridges in a short period of time while minimizing inconvenience to drivers and local residents.

Since April 2009, 183 new bridges have been completed and another 48 are under construction. Work on 12 more is to begin next week.

Another innovative bridge design will become a part of the program as a result of a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Sen. Claire McCaskill announced this week that MoDOT would be receiving the grant through the "Highways for Life" program, which is designed to accelerate the adoption of innovations and technologies, improve highway safety and quality, and reduce congestion as a result of construction activity.

MoDOT will use the funds to build three bridges that include Hybrid Composite Beams, or HCBs, a technique never-before used in Missouri. By using the HCBs, construction time can be greatly reduced, future maintenance will be minimized, and the HCB exterior is expected to provide a service life beyond 100 years.

MoDOT's bridge engineers plan to evaluate the HCBs to see if there are further applications for their use on future bridge projects.

One of the bridges to be built with HCBs is on Route 97 in Dade County. Locations for the other two structures are yet to be determined.