FALL 2017

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.

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Page 15 of 63

PROJECT RAPID RISE FROM THE ASHES GDOT's team rebuilds I-85 segment in 44 days using precast concrete bulb tees after devastating fire destroys three spans in both northbound and southbound directions by Bill DuVall, Georgia Department of Transportation I will long remember March 30, 2017. I was driving into town that evening with my son to have burgers when the radio announced there was an intense fire under the Interstate 85 (I-85) viaduct near Piedmont Road in Atlanta, Ga. I called the state bridge inspection engineer for an update, turned the car around, and headed to the office. My son was so excited he didn't even mind going to my office. That worked well, as he could read and answer texts (he's good at it) and make calls for me as we went. I contacted my assistants, the construction office, management, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). At 6 p.m., as we drove, we heard that a span had collapsed. I have experienced numerous incidents with bridges damaged by collision or fire, but none had ever brought down a span until that night. Georgia State Patrol was first on the scene and closed I-85. Other first responders included Georgia Department of Transportation's (GDOT's) highway emergency response operators and local police and firefighters. Due to their coordinated and immediate response, no one was injured by the collapse. That left it to our team to determine the extent of the damage and the best and most expedient way to return the bridge to service immediately. 243,000 Vehicles per Day I-85 splits from Interstate 75 in downtown Atlanta, and heads north towards South Carolina. The viaduct crosses Piedmont Road in a section that carries 243,000 vehicles per day. Due to its key location and the extent of the damage, Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency, which allowed FHWA to authorize emergency funding and allowed GDOT to negotiate the contract for repair. The governor also asked GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry to fund incentives for early completion. Road-user costs were used to set the appropriate level of incentive. McMurry immediately contacted C.W. Matthews (CWM) Contracting Co., which had responded quickly to a bridge fire on Interstate 285 in 2001. CWM's representatives were at the I-85 site that night placing light towers and evaluating the damage and reconstruction options. The heat of the fire caused enough damage to the concrete and prestressing strands that the bridge collapsed. It also caused significant damage to the intermediate bents supporting that span and those spans directly north and south. The concrete bents experienced loss of concrete cover, buckling of column reinforcement, and significant cap damage. GDOT bridge inspectors later found extensive delamination and (continued next page) PROFILE INTERSTATE 85 BRIDGE OVER PIEDMONT ROAD / ATLANTA, GEORGIA ENGINEER: Georgia Department of Transportation, Atlanta, Ga. PRIME CONTRACTOR: C. W. Matthews Contracting Co., Marietta, Ga. DEMOLITION CONTRACTOR: D. H. Griffin Construction, Greensboro, N.C. PRECASTER: Standard Concrete Products, Atlanta and Savannah, Ga. - a PCI-certified producer

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