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A new take on Plate Girder

Author: Tom Stockhausen, President of CDR Bridge Systems, LLC. / January 2017


Pennsylvania, January 2017


A new accelerated bridge construction solution makes its commercial debut in a statewide bridge replacement project in Pennsylvania.


The Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project (PRBRP) is ambitious in scope, to say the least. The project involves replacing 558 structurally deficient bridges over a three-year span, and the majority of the bridges in the project are short spans proposed to be replaced with concrete structures. Approximately 10% of the bridges restricted the general contractor (Walsh/Granite) to a five-week maximum detour, thereby necessitating accelerated bridge construction (ABC).


As an alternative to concrete, general contractor Walsh/Granite turned to the folded steel plate girder (FSPG) system for multiple restricted-detour bridge projects under the PRBRP. FSPG bridges were first constructed as demonstration projects in Massachusetts and Nebraska using Accelerated Innovation Deployment Grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). When compared to concrete, they can be erected faster, last longer, require roughly the same level of maintenance and compete in terms of cost. As of publication, four of the seven bridges ordered by Walsh/Granite have been manufactured and two have been erected. The three others are currently being manufactured.


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