Joseph A. Russo Memorial Bridge
Restoring historic structures requires special skills and materials. In the case of a 70-year-old Rhode Island bridge, precast concrete satisfied historians concerned with the past and engineers looking to the future.
To provide the appropriate look and structural integrity for the Joseph A. Russo Memorial Bridge connecting Lincoln and Cumberland, R.I., designers used 1,921 pieces of precast to rehabilitate the 870-foot-long span, built over five open-spandrel arches. "To minimize construction time, we decided to use as much precast concrete as possible. We saved time and spared ourselves a degree of difficulty by not having to build forms for cast-in-place concrete, which would have been tedious and time-consuming at this site," says Bob Greig of Maguire Group Inc. and the principal engineer on the project.
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission insisted that the bridge, which carries Route 116 over the Blackstone River near Providence, be faithfully restored, says Greig.
All cast-in-place concrete components, with the exception of the arch ribs and main piers, were demolished. Most of the original columns, floor beams, spandrel arches and baluster rails were replaced with precast replicas manufactured by Northeast Concrete Products LLC of Plainville, Massachusetts. The Rhode Island DOT and Northeast Concrete developed a custom, high-performance concrete mix that not only matched the original concrete but also met the requirements of a long service life and low maintenance.
Precast, prestressed deck form panels were used, eliminating the need to build forms for cast-in-place, and were tied together with cast-in-place closure sections. The remainder of the deck was fashioned of cast-in-place reinforced concrete. J.P. Carrara & Sons Inc., Middlebury, Vermont provided the deck panels.