$6.2 million project to test new form of concrete paving on Delaware Memorial Bridge


Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) officials announced that a $6.2 million pilot project using new concrete technology will get underway on the Delaware Memorial Bridge this month.

The Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) deck overlay pilot project will take place on the New Jersey-bound span of the bridge.

The duration of the overlay work is expected to be five weeks afternoon Labor Day weekend. Two lanes will be closed to traffic throughout the overlay placement period – with an additional third lane shut down during the overnight hours.

The traveling public should expect traffic congestion and delays heading into New Jersey through early October.

J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, PA was project low-bidder to undertake the UHPC deck pilot project at a cost of $6.2 million.

“The bridge deck of the New Jersey-bound span is more than 50 years old and needs substantial repair and rehabilitation,” said Chief Engineer David Hoppenjans. He noted that full deck replacement is a significantly more expensive alternative, takes longer to construct, and is much more disruptive to traffic compared to a UHPC deck overlay.

“This dedicated, small scale pilot project will give the Authority direct day-to-day experience in the implementation of a UHPC overlay project offering critical experience specific to the Delaware Memorial Bridge,” Hoppenjans said.

The period between Labor Day and Columbus Day was identified as the best time to complete this pilot project. In September, the Delaware Memorial Bridge registers the fourthlowest traffic volumes in a calendar year, trailing January, February and March.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge has three types of bridge spans – girder, truss, and suspension spans – and this deck overlay pilot program will address each structural span type.

The project entails the removal of the old deck to a depth of 3.75 inch, repair of the reinforcing mat, and installation of a replacement overlay with Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC).

A total of 500 feet, two lanes in width of the New Jersey bound span will be resurfaced using the concrete

The deck of the New Jersey-bound span is seeing accelerated deterioration and is in need of substantial repair. Research has identified partial depth reconstruction utilizing Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) as potentially the most effective solution, pending the outcome of the pilot project.

The final product will be stronger than the original deck. The purpose of this pilot program is also to develop firsthand experience related to the design, solicitation, and construction of this type of project.

Hoppenjans added that the testing and analysis of the completed pilot program that will assess the overlay performance will commence in the spring of 2021.

Depending on a review of the pilot program results, the DRBA tentatively plans to initiate a full deck overlay program using UHPC on the New Jersey bound span in three phases totaling nine months. The exact timing has not yet been determined. The total cost of the project is anticipated to exceed $50 million.

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