The bridge was originally built in 1922 and eligible for the Historic Register. Residents were avid on preserving it.
“The use of precast concrete helped to preserve the original arches rather than having to demolish the bridge and build a new conventional structure,” said John Sloan, PE, the North Carolina bridge program manager for AECOM. “This preserved a historic resource while providing significant cost savings for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.”
The team was able to preserve the architectural character by using precast concrete fascia panels. These panels aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but provide a durable solution. The team was able to complete the project as quickly as possible to minimize the inconvenience to those traveling by car or boat and the project was complete in May, 2021.
“The remote location of Lake Tillery and the complex construction sequencing needed to avoid overstressing the arches warranted the use of precast concrete,” said Kevin Fischer, the NCDOT assistant state structures engineer, field operations. “Precast concrete beams reduced the construction timeline and improved constructability. The unique continuity details of the precast concrete beams allowed the elimination of several joints in the bridge to reduce future maintenance needs.”
It’s not easy to earn a PCI award and the team didn’t take any shortcuts when it came to their work. They had to overcome multiple obstacles and logistical hurdles to send over 100 truckloads of material 200 miles away to Albermarle, NC.
“We sent quality personnel down there a couple of times because some beams had been damaged while they were setting them and our guys had to go down there and make repairs,” said Bowling.
The project included 6 castings of prestressed box beams (20 beams), 18 castings of precast spandrel beams (192 beams) and 32 castings of prestressed deck panels (849 panels total).
If you ever find yourself outside the Charlotte area crossing the Pee Dee River on the Swift Island Arch Bridge, take a moment to recognize Eastern Vault’s hard work.
Photos courtesy of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute