All photos courtesy of Washington State DOT
After more than 80 years of carrying freight and local motorists, the US 12 Wildcat Creek Bridge was well past its service life. Road closures to repair holes in the bridge deck were becoming too common and a nuisance to travelers.
Being near popular camping sites and recreation from fishing and boating to hiking and backpacking, aesthetics and protecting wildlife during construction were as equally important as service life and construction time.
Thanks to a collaborative design-build process, a precast concrete arch, produced by H2 Pre-cast, was used to replace the bridge in a mere 17 days, shaving off substantial construction time for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The project also included MSE walls produced by Wilbert Precast. The MSE walls feature a custom look thanks to two different textures and surface colorings.
WSDOT Bridge and Structures Engineer Mark Gaines, P.E., said for design-build projects, the department sets the performance requirements while allowing the design-builder to determine the best solution. For this project, he said that solution was precast concrete arch structures and that the department has used them many times.
WSDOT wanted to make sure the impact to motorists was minimal and that access to local businesses and cabins was still available. The project also had to meet various environmental constraints including fish passage windows and more.
WSDOT Project Engineer Bob Hooker said the department met with the Graham Contracting, Ltd. to discuss several options, and the Contech Engineered Solutions precast concrete arch produced by H2 Pre-cast was chosen because it met the time requirements, minimized impact to traffic and the environment while allowing for cost-savings. The precast arches span an impressive 54 feet.
“The selected precast arch structure provided a substantial aesthetic improvement to the surrounding area including the adjacent cabin association while successfully addressing the underlying needs of the old deteriorating bridge,” Hooker noted. “This solution highlights future project opportunities utilizing precast alternatives to provide cost-effective and innovative solutions to the state’s infrastructure needs.”
Daniel Wasniak, P.E., director of precast bridges for Contech, said they were happy to be part of the project.
“The BEBO solution saved a substantial amount of time and money over conventional options,” he noted. “The use of a prefabricated precast arch culvert as a buried bridge solution allows the design engineers to have another tool in their toolbox of bridge solutions.”
From the minimal construction time to protecting the wildlife in the area during construction, WSDOT views the project as a success.
“The Wildcat Creek Bridge project has received 4 awards, and its success can be largely attributed to an innovative solution that minimized impacts to the traveling public, freight, adjacent business and the environment.”