ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/306183
F O C U S One of the first firms involved with prestressed concrete looks to new innovations I n t h e 1 9 5 0 s , t h e f o u n d e r s o f BergerABAM created a revolutionary instrumentation and testing procedure to validate the use of prestressed concrete, thereby ushering in a new era for bridge construction. Today, the firm remains a leader in the use of prestressed concrete for a variety of projects, including routine and first-of- its-kind applications for transportation, marine, and building structures. And, with its eye firmly set on the challenges facing the industry, it plans to continue to innovate with concrete in the future. "Concrete is generally considered more durable than steel and requires less maintenance, especially in a marine environment," says Bob Fernandes, vice president of BergerABAM's Public Works & Transportation Department. "The use of prestressed concrete allows the use of longer spans when required." Although clients benefit from the firm's technical expertise with concrete, they are also looking for other qualities when they hire the firm, he says. "Each client is different, but I suspect the qualities they appreciate most are the ones that our founders used to succeed: creativity and persistence. Our company was founded by individuals who were entrepreneurs and contractors. We have a design-for-construction mentality and we enjoy overcoming obstacles." Constructability is a critical ingredient for today's projects, he notes. "The need goes beyond a bridge's actual design to include a strong sensitivity to environmental concerns. Due to an increasingly complex regulatory environment, we are generally required to document the entire construction process in great detail in order to secure permits for the project. Obviously, this needs to be done early in the process if the design is to be completed in an efficient manner." In some cases, the firm is required to engineer aspects of the construction process, which it previously left to the contractor, to ensure the client can follow through on commitments made to the regulatory agency issuing the permits. "Following through and helping the contractor execute the design are also important," adds Chuck Spry, senior project manager, with BergerABAM's P u b l i c W o r k s & Tr a n s p o r t a t i o n Department. "Wherever possible, we try to be open to project improvements suggested by contractors that are consistent with the client's goals for the project and the permits. In some cases, we have been able to get permits altered to implement a contractor's ideas that benefit the project. As A precast, prestressed concrete spliced girder design was used in the Don E. Wickstrom Bridge in Kent, Wash., to avoid any piers or falsework in the river. The girders feature 60-ft-long variable-depth haunched segments balanced on the piers. All photos: BergerABAM. by Craig A. Shutt by Craig A. Shutt BergerABAM Continues to Pioneer 'We have a design-for-construction mentality and we enjoy overcoming obstacles.' 6 | ASPIRE , Spring 2011 Book_Spr11.indb 6 3/30/11 5:08 PM