A sterling example of precast concrete segmental bridge construction, the Chesapeake & Delaware (C & D) Canal Bridge proves that this construction technique can produce economical bridges even in an area of the country in which steel bridges have been predominant. The economy resulted from innovative design and construction techniques, which allowed the 4,650-foot-long, cable-stayed bridge to be built very rapidly. All the precast structural bridge elements were cast and erected within three years of the notice to proceed.
The job was awarded to low bidder Recchi America Inc, Miami, for the $57.8 million precast concrete alternate designed by Figg Engineering Group, Tallahassee, Fla. Composed of twin parallel trapezoidal box girders, the bridge is designed to transport three lanes each of northbound and southbound traffic.
The erection of the C & D Canal Bridge consists of four primary construction phases: foundations, box piers, approach spans, and main span. The straightforward design and construction techniques used on this project helped shorten the contractor's learning curve, increase construction efficiency, and keep the project on schedule. The cycle times achieved by Recchi were outstanding: 10 box column segments in a day and a 150-foot span in 3.5 days. The south cantilever was completed in 108 working days, with an average cable-stay cycle of 5 days. The north cantilever was completed in 79 working days, with an average cable-stay cycle of 4 days.