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/439391
FOCUS ‘We Embrace New Technology’ At the forefront of new techniques for bridge construction, CME sees changes ahead for the industry and the growth of new delivery methods by Craig A. Shutt Engineering design firm CME Associates has taken a lead role in a variety of new technologies and techniques gaining attention in the bridge construction industry. It has helped test new ideas and worked with organizations to develop standards. Those efforts pay off when projects need innovative solutions to more-complex challenges. “We’re involved at the national level with a number of organizations, such as the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and the Federal Highway Administration, so we know what’s going on around the country,” explains Michael P. Culmo, vice president of transportation and structures at the East Hartford, Conn.-based firm. “We’ve made a big investment in actively participating in these programs to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for new challenges, such as ground-breaking accelerated bridge construction programs taking hold in states all over the country. This ongoing effort to learn and share new advancements allows us to bring those valuable technologies to our clients when the need and opportunity arises.” An example is the work CME now provides to the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), which consists of managing part of its bridge program, to inject new technologies where possible. “We’ve worked with them regularly in the past, but now we can bring them a variety of ideas that allow them to decide whether to move forward with new techniques,” he says. “We’re not overly conservative. We embrace new technology.” Thriving on Challenges The firm’s interest and experience in emerging technologies has led the company to take on more complex and challenging projects. A number of those projects recently have been with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), such as the “93 Fast 14.” The 93 Fast 14 project used accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques and materials to replace 14 bridge superstructures on I-93 in Medford, near Boston, over 10 weekends during the summer of 2011. CME developed the project concept for this $98-million design-build project. It used precast concrete superstructure components and rapid-setting, cast-inplace concrete, which cut 3 years from the conventional construction schedule. The work was part of MassDOT’s Accelerated Bridge Program, which seeks to use ABC techniques and other innovations to speed project delivery and construction. Another complex project that is currently underway is the I-91 deck replacement in Springfield, Mass., where 750,000 ft2 of bridge deck is being replaced with precast concrete deck panels in 156 spans.