PITTSBURGH, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Overcoming project challenges ranging from hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and winter storms to lack of funding and precise navigation clearance requirements, the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge opened in October 2012. Spanning the Elizabeth River and linking Chesapeake to Portsmouth, Va., the bridge received the prestigious Gustav Lindenthal Medal at this year's International Bridge Conference® (IBC). The award was presented to Figg Bridge Engineers Inc. during the awards dinner reception.
The Gustav Lindenthal Medal, sponsored by Bayer MaterialScience LLC, is awarded annually to recognize a recent outstanding achievement in bridge engineering. To receive this honor, the bridge's engineering effort must demonstrate not only technical and material innovation and success, but also positive community participation, aesthetic merit and harmony with the environment.
Steven Sternberger, head – Industrial Marketing, Coatings, Adhesives & Specialties, Bayer MaterialScience LLC, presented the award. "The South Norfolk Jordan Bridge makes for faster connections, more capacity, bigger clearances and breathtaking views. For all these reasons it has enhanced the quality of daily life in the surrounding communities," said Sternberger.
The bridge was completed in two years and was completely privately funded. The new bridge replaces a structurally deficient steel lift span bridge that was closed to traffic due to lack of funding for repair or replacement. The closure resulted in greater congestion on routes many miles away.
One of the challenges of replacing a lift span bridge in this location with a high-level fixed span and pedestrian-friendly bridge was establishing the bridge geometry. The engineering team had to take into account the site constraints, including clearance requirements over the river for navigation, railroad easements on both sides of the river and existing tie-in points to surface streets. After extensive analysis, engineers achieved a bridge layout that provides the required U.S. Coast Guard navigation clearance, gentle grades for pedestrian access and appropriate rail clearances, while also integrating the bridge seamlessly into the existing transportation network, including I-464.
Precast segmental technology was used to construct the new bridge. Each element of the bridge – the foundations, piers and superstructure – was manufactured in local precasting facilities and then assembled on-site. Precasting offered many benefits including speed of construction, multiple construction headings and factory-like quality control. The precasting facility adjacent to the bridge site offered easy water access. Segments were barged to the bridge site and then lifted into place.
The main span unit over the river was built using balanced cantilever construction. Balanced cantilever erection near the navigation channel required close coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard to keep vessels in the channel moving, including the nearby Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The completed bridge features 35 spans for a total bridge length of 5,375 feet. It is illuminated with low maintenance, energy-efficient LED lighting.
The new South Norfolk Jordan Bridge provides an important route for commuters, heavy trucks and emergency vehicles as part of their daily travel, and also provides a vital non-tunnel evacuation route. The bridge provided free evacuation access for residents escaping Hurricane Sandy.
The IBC, in its 31st year, took place on June 8-12, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, the City of Bridges. It is the leading conference for the bridge industry in North America, Europe and Asia. IBC attracts more than 1,600 bridge owners and engineers, government officials, senior policy makers, construction executives, bridge designers and suppliers annually.
Created in 1999, the Gustav Lindenthal Award is named for one of America's most celebrated bridge engineers. Lindenthal is widely admired for his innovative ideas, vision and foresight during the technology boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It's fitting that the IBC is held in Pittsburgh, where Lindenthal established an engineering practice. He went on to design the city's Smithfield Street Bridge. This bridge is designated as both a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Completed in 1883 as Pittsburgh's first river bridge, the Smithfield Street Bridge is a double lenticular truss spanning the Monongahela River. It remains a popular passage today, serving more than 18,000 commuters and is the most heavily walked pedestrian bridge in the city.
About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,300 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2013 sales of 11.2 billion euros. Bayer MaterialScience, a Bayer Group company, manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC's business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, social responsibility and respect for the environment.
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