Be a Kid in a Candy Shop

By Kirk Stelsel

As an architect, engineer or contractor, have you ever faced a project where an accelerated schedule was of paramount concern to the client?

The better question, probably, is have you ever worked on a project where time was not of the essence? Most every client wants their project done yesterday for the best price possible – and oh, they want it to look nice and last a long time as well. That’s the reality of the construction industry.

When it comes to bridge construction, timing pressures only increase, because mitigating traffic closures is always a top concern. You need a material that installs fast to save you and your client time and money – and time is money on a construction site. That material is precast concrete, and the following case studies show why it’s the material of choice whether you need to replace an aging structure on a small, two-lane road or a mega structure over a major river or highway.

Case 1: 14 bridges replaced in 10 weekends on I-93 in Boston, Mass.

When the Massachusetts Department of Transportation set out to replace 14 bridges in just 10 weekends, it was an aggressive timeline, to say the least. Amazingly, with a lot of planning and the right materials, the Fast 14 Project was completed on time. Among the critical components of the plan was the use of 252 composite bridge deck segments fabricated during a 14-week span at Jersey Precast in Hamilton Township, N.J.

Case 2: Short-span precast concrete bridges

The need for short-span bridges is tremendous (See “Use Box Culverts for Rapid Bridge Replacement,” page 28). Whether it’s a small road with an aging structure over a creek, a running or biking path that needs a tunnel, or even an airport that needs a route for planes over a roadway, precast concrete short-span bridges are the solution. With a fast installation time, all the strength you could need, and a range of customizable options, there’s no other product that affords a better option. And when it comes to looks, the addition of spandrel and wing wall panels, as well as custom finishes and color such as brick or natural stone – the diversity of architectural precast offers one-of-a-kind solutions.

Case 3: New South Maple Street bridge

In Enfield, Conn., an aging bridge built in 1925 was in need of a replacement. The solution was a total precast design that was installed in just 17 days thanks to the use of 71 precast concrete pieces that made up the foundation, abutment and wing walls, beams, and approach slabs. With architectural form liners and rapid installation, the attractive result earned the owner’s satisfaction.

To learn more about what precast concrete can do for your next transportation project, or to find a precaster in your area, visit our website at

Kirk Stelsel is NPCA’s director of Communication.

Be a Kid in a Candy Shop story photos

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