Replacing a bridge in a weekend is an incredible feat. The Veranda Street Bridge is on one of Maine’s busiest stretches of highway, with an average of more than 55,000 vehicles passing over it daily. Constructed in 1961, the bridge was deteriorating after decades of heavy use, with an inspection in 2017 citing its condition as poor and structurally deficient. Cianbro was awarded the $20.8 million replacement, and opted to use an innovative method involving self–propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) to replace the high-use bridge in a single weekend. This method allowed for the bridge to be constructed closer to the ground and farther from active traffic, improving safety for team members and motorists.
Teamwork and communication were critical to seeing this project to completion. Maine DOT, Cianbro, HNTB, and Shaw Brothers worked closely from the beginning of the project, carefully planning for the 60-hour window in April 2022 when the highway was shut down and the team rolled the pre-constructed bridge into place. Conscious of the impact the project would have on the public, the team wanted to make sure all travelers knew about the bridge closure, with Maine DOT creating “The Veranda Plan” to help spread the word to local media and on its electronic signage.
INNOVATION & CHALLENGES
The task in front of the team was clear: complete the bridge replacement in a 60-hour window. Cianbro considered two options to execute the replacement, but opted for a novel approach using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) to roll a pre constructed bridge into place. SPMTs are commonly used by NASA to move space shuttle components. Collaborating with Shaw Brothers and Mammoet, an international leader in heavy lifting and transporting oversized objects, the team completed the first-ever weekend closure of I-295 and the first-ever use of SPMTs in Maine.
The project hinged on meeting tight deadlines. Planning was of the utmost importance to ensure the team hit its marks. From demolition and cleanup to bridge placement and finishing touches, each hour was carefully choreographed.
“The team was a well-oiled machine focused on executing the job safely to ensure that traffic was flowing again on Monday morning.”
One of the primary considerations in the project was to minimize the impact on travelers. Bridge replacements of this size traditionally take years, with one-lane traffic congestion, significant inconvenience, and potentially dangerous conditions. By using Cianbro’s accelerated bridge construction, the impact was condensed to a mere 60 hours.
Though the bridge replacement over Veranda Street was the project’s primary focus, the team also constructed a safe intersection on lower Veranda Street and completed the majority of two additional bridge joint rehabilitation projects on I-295 during the outage. Ultimately, the project created a safe pathway for travelers of all types on and below the I-295 overpass.
ENVIRONMENT & SAFETY
Completed in close proximity to Casco Bay, Cianbro’s team worked to protect the bay from the work activities. Standard and activity-specific mitigation measures were used, and the team installed new or improved stormwater drainage features with weekly and post-storm inspections. During demolition, ground protection measures were used to contain debris and the crew used industrial vacuums to clean up paint chips. Demolition containment dumpsters were staged to receive concrete and scrap metal for recycling. In addition, the final configuration of the bridge and on/off ramps included a new green space along the waterfront to reduce runoff from the highway to the bay.
With more than 300 individuals entering and exiting the work site during the closure weekend, establishing clear expectations was key for a safe job site. All new team members from all contributing companies were briefed before they entered the site, which not only helped keep it safe, but also built a camaraderie for the weekend. There were lots of moving parts to the project, including cranes, excavators, the SPMTs carrying the 400-ton bridge spans, and the 300 individuals working alongside all the equipment. No injuries occurred over the course of the project and, during the outage, there was not a single safety incident.
To see the project video – https://youtu.be/YPezTkTwxg4
Owner: Maine Department of Transportation
Construction Manager: Cianbro Corporation
Aric Dreher, Assistant General Manager, Infrastructure
Chet Muckenhirn, Senior Project Manager
Tom Senior, Senior Project Engineer
Brian Hartness, General Superintendent
Cal Senesac, Assistant Superintendent
Josh Francis, Assistant Superintendent
Ryan Marcotte, Superintendent
Bill Dusty, Superintendent
Ron Kief, Temporary Design Engineer
MJ Guyette, Quality Manager
Mike Franck, Safety Manager
Mike Atherton, Lead Estimator
Mark Caldwell, Estimating Manager
Shaw Brothers Construction
Josh Fairweather, Supervisor
Matt Boben, Project Manager
HNTB – Designer
Tim Cote, Vice President, Project Director
Ashley Stephens, Project Manager/Designer
Maine Department of Transportation
Ben Walz, Resident Engineer
Mark Smith, Chief Inspector
Calderwood Engineering – Temporary Abutment Design
Eric Calderwood, Owner/Chief Engineer