Goethals Bridge

The massive $1.5-billion project to replace the Goethals Bridge requires three precasters, along with many other material suppliers, to provide the components needed to complete the 7,109-foot-long structure. The companies are fabricating a variety of precast concrete pieces, including bulb-tee girders, modular retaining walls, and deck panels.

The bridge, built in 1928 and one of the first constructed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, connects Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York, over the Arthur Kill strait. The new cable-stayed structure features three 12-foot-wide travel lanes (replacing two 10-foot-wide lanes) in each direction along with a 12-foot outer and 5-foot inner shoulder in each direction. It also includes a 10-foot walkway and bikeway. It also allows for the addition of a mass-transit link.

The original twin-bridge design was value-engineered to a single bridge to minimize the height of the supporting towers. The resulting design features 135-foot-tall towers, with improved safety features and smart-bridge technology to monitor maintenance needs and traffic disruptions due to severe weather and other conditions.

The project is being developed by NYNJ Link Developer LLC, a consortium consisting of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets along with Kiewit Infrastructure Co. The group is responsible for the design, construction and financing of the bridge, and it will provide maintenance for 35 years after completion. The Port Authority will retain certain operations, including toll collection.

The three precasters on the project comprise Northeast Prestressed Products in Cressona, Pennsylvania, Fort Miller Co. in Schuylerville, New York, and Unistress Corp. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

NPP is supplying precast concrete girders and deck panels for 35 spans on the eastbound approaches and 33 spans on the westbound approaches, according to Dennis R. Fink, vice president. A total of 397 bulb-tee girders are being fabricated. The longest beams are 175.5 feet long and weigh from 47 to 108 tons. A total of 6,816 partial-depth deck panels also are being cast, with an average size of 8 feet by 9’7”.

The bulb tees are delivered to the project site overnight, traveling 128 miles from the plant to ensure a steady supply is ready to be erected each day. Approximately 1,087 shop drawings were created by NPP to cast the components, which incorporate electrical conduit, junction boxes, drainage systems, fire hydrants, and sidewalks.

Fort Miller Group is providing 450 precast concrete T-wall units which will act as modular retaining walls and abutment walls. Segments one and three on both sides of the bridge were built first, followed by segments 2 and 4, according to Nick Cowan, design engineer. The final two segments, on the New Jersey side, will be completed last.

The panels, cast with a standard gray mix, feature a large trapezoidal-shaped patterns in increasingly larger sizes from panel to panel, creating a sense of movement. The typical size of the panels is 5 feet wide by 2.5 feet tall, although they vary in height up to 6 feet tall and in width down to 3.5 feet. “There are many sizes of pieces due to the varying heights and widths needed to accommodate specific terrain issues,” he explains.

The panels are 6 inches deep plus a 6-inch stem protruding from the back to secure the panels. A few “filler” pieces were created that wrap around the back of some panels where the stems could not be provided. Additional panels are planned to be cast in 2017 as the project progresses.

Unistress Corp. also fabricated precast concrete components for the project, including 624 full-depth and 122 shared-use-path deck panels. The panels range in width from 13’4” to 23 feet, with projection bars protruding out on all four sides. The bars aid closure pours to tie together the panels, which used 7,000-psi lightweight concrete with a 120-day curing period.

The full-depth precast panels were delivered on specially designed tilt-frame racks to handle the protruding rebar. The full-depth panels were cast and have been delivered, while the SUP panels will go into production late in 2016.

The project began in May 2014 and is scheduled for completion in late 2018.

Project Details

City:

Elizabeth, NJ to Staten Island, NY
 

Precaster:

Northeast Prestressed Products LLC, Cressona, PA
(bulb tees and deck panels)
The Fort Miller Co., Inc.Schuylerville, New York
(abutment and retaining walls))
Unistress Corp. Pittsfield, MA
(deck panels))
 

Owner:

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York, NY
 

Designer/Engineer/Contractor:

NYNJ Link Developer LLC, a joint venture of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets with Kiewit Infrastructure Co.
 

Structural Precast Elements:

• 397 bulb-tee girders in four depths
[55 inches (7 units), 71 inches (70 units), 71.5 inches (178 unit), and 95 inches (303 units)]
• 6,816 partial-depth deck panels with an average size of 8 feet by 9’7”.
• 450 T-wall units serving as modular retaining walls and abutment walls, with a typical size of 5 feet wide and 2’6” tall.
 
 
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