Piscataqua River Bridge Rehabilitation Wins 2023 ACEC National Recognition Award

Piscataqua River Bridge Rehabilitation Wins 2023 ACEC National Recognition Award

Piscataqua River Bridge

Inaugural use of unique traffic control plan in Maine and New Hampshire maintains critical travel throughout construction

TYLin, a globally recognized full-service infrastructure consulting firm, announces that the Piscataqua River Bridge Rehabilitation has won a 2023 National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition. Dubbed the “Academy Awards” of the engineering industry, the prestigious awards program honors complex projects worldwide that showcase innovation, value to the engineering profession, sustainability, and fulfillment of client needs.

TYLin was the sole consultant to rehabilitate the Piscataqua River Bridge, the only interstate highway connection leading into Maine and essential for commerce and tourism. TYLin’s innovative traffic management solution assured safety and traffic maintenance throughout the rehabilitation effort.

The 4,503-foot-long through-arch structure carries six lanes of I-95 traffic between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine. In addition to improving safety on the bridge and developing rehabilitation designs, the Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) challenged TYLin to develop a plan to move more traffic through the corridor using the existing structure. 

TYLin proposed an intelligent transportation system (ITS) to dynamically use emergency shoulders as a fourth traffic lane in each direction when needed during peak traffic periods — a move that will significantly improve traffic flow. The USD 56.3 million bridge rehabilitation has prepared the structure and its approaches for the ITS, which is expected to be installed by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) by the end of 2023.

This project marks the first major rehabilitation of the bridge since its construction in 1972. It was completed with little to no impact on daily traffic, which can reach 130,000 vehicles during the summer tourist season. Maintaining traffic flow was the project’s greatest concern. In partnership with MaineDOT, NHDOT, and the Maine Turnpike Authority, TYLin developed a sophisticated Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) scheme and mandated the use of the Road Zipper System®. This movable temporary concrete barrier system can shift from one lane to another quickly and efficiently, multiple times each day if desired. In this work zone, lanes were opened and closed in less than 15 minutes. 

To implement the pioneering MOT scheme, TYLin evaluated traffic levels at the site for every hour of every day of the year before creating an intricate, incentivized traffic control plan identifying when and where the contractor could work with minimal traffic disruption. This innovative option had never been attempted in Maine or New Hampshire and only utilized a few times elsewhere. The rapid deployment allowed lane closures to be fine-tuned to the exact traffic patterns at the bridge site. 

“To maintain traffic on a project of this magnitude with little to no impact on travelers is a testament to the forward-thinking skills of our transportation engineers,” said Kevin Cornish, PE, TYLin Senior Vice President and Roads + Highways Sector Leader. “I couldn’t be prouder of the dedicated teamwork displayed by our client, project team, and contractor. We are honored to have achievements like this celebrated by the American Council of Engineering Companies.”

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