I-84 Exit 63 Off-Ramp

Officials at the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) undertook a redesign of the eastbound Exit 63 off-ramp on I-84 to meet new federal requirements for the appropriate ramp radius. In doing so, they created the longest geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated (GRS) abutment system in the United States. The bridge features precast concrete economical fabrication (PCEF) bulb tee beams erected in two phases.

The new four-lane, single-span structure spans the Hockanum River and replaces a two-lane bridge, allowing for widening the exit ramp to the required radius. New turning lanes also were added on the highway leading to the ramp.

The 107.65-foot-long precast concrete beams were specified to work with the GRS abutments, which allowed the beams to provide necessary support. The project originally was designed using NEBT beams but was value-engineered to the PCEF shape, which are virtual the same as a NEBT. Northeast Prestressed Products LLC (NPP) cast the beams, which were designed by Eriksson Technologies.

“The structure was designed to be very sturdy and provide added durability,” says Russell Bush, project manager at ROTHA Contracting. The improved elements include 42 0.6-inch strands, a 14-inch-thick concrete deck, and fiberglass reinforcement in the beams. They also were cast with 10,000-psi concrete.

The 12 beams, weighing 47.7 tons apiece, were cast in a straight alignment despite the road having a heavy curve. This approach simplified the bridge geometry, according to Troy M. Jenkins, chief engineer at NPP.

Travel Restrictions
The GRS and prefabricated beams helped meet the tight schedule, which required close communication, Bush notes. “We had a very tight window for the erection as well as delivery restrictions due to the beam lengths.”

The restrictions included being able to transport the components only during the day, coupled with the converse requirement that the beams could be erected only at night, with no staging area in proximity of the jobsite.

Erected in Two Phases
The erection was split into two stages, with two new lanes (requiring seven beams) first erected adjacent to the existing ramp. Traffic was then moved onto those lanes, and the existing ramp was demolished and replaced on the interior of the radius with a new five-beam portion of two lanes. The project began construction in April 2016 and was completed in December 2016.

The bridge was designed as a pilot project for ConnDOT, Bush notes. “The goal was to test the concept to determine its viability for speeding up these projects. Using the long bulb-tee sections and incorporating the integral abutment on top of the GRS structure was a unique approach that worked well.”

Project Details






Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), Newington, CT

Precast Engineer:

Eriksson Technologies, Temple Terrace, FL


ROTHA Contracting Company, Inc., Avon,CT

Structural Precast Elements:

• (12) 107.65-foot-long precast concrete economical fabrication (PCEF) bulb-tee beams (32/47 inches deep and 65.5 feet wide) erected in two phases.
• Vast with 10,000-psi concrete.

Key Project Attributes:

• Construction Time: only eight months.
• Four-lane, single-span structure spanning the Hockanum River.

Project Details:

• Replaced two-lane bridge, allowing for widening the exit ramp to the required radius.
• Features longest geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated (GRS) abutment system in the United States.


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