Hungerford Street Bridge

Officials at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation wanted to replace the two short bridges on Hungerford Street over the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, MA, in the most cost-effective way possible. To do this, they reused one of the existing alignments, replacing only the superstructure. Both bridges made use of prestressed, precast concrete spread box beams to complete construction.

“We used precast concrete box beams for two reasons,” says Paul Harrington, project designer for Fay, Spofford & Thorndike Inc. “They gave us the span lengths that we needed and provided the shallow profile that allowed us to maintain the hydraulic opening that the owners required. We only had so much latitude without chasing out the bridge many more feet.”

The bridges were replaced due to deterioration, but one substructure was deemed to have serviceable life. It was retained, with the box beams set onto the existing piers. The two single-span bridges consist of six 65-foot-long beams for one bridge and five 31-foot-long beams on the other. Both bridges provide two 12-foot travel lanes and two 5-foot sidewalks.

Both bridges feature structural concrete toppings, per MassDOT’s request. Dailey Precast provided the precast concrete components.

The project was constructed without undue issues arising, with the only challenges coming from utilities that obstructed the site, Harrington says. A sewer manhole located near one abutment dictated changes to the approach slabs, and a utility crossing in the river had to be replaced, necessitating the crew dam the river for a short time to make the replacement.

“The river was the biggest challenge, both in working around it and providing the needed clearance,” says Harrington. “But all in all, the project went very smoothly. Precast concrete box beams work very nicely with short-span projects like this. It was a good application for these bridges.”

Project Details








Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), Boston, MA


Fay, Spofford & Thorndike Inc., Burlington, MA


Petricca Construction Co., Pittsfield, MA

Structural Precast Elements:

• One single-span bridge consisting of six 65-foot-long prestressed, precast concrete box beams with a concrete deck
• One single-span bridge consisting of five 31-foot long prestressed, precast concrete box beams with a concrete deck


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