RAM Construction Services was the low bidder on the North Carolina Department of Transportation project for the rehabilitation of US 17 bridges crossing the Trent River and the Neuse River. The Neuse River Bridge was opened to traffic in 1999 and only required the removal and replacement of 1 modular joint as a section of the original system had failed and was not repairable. The challenge with this scope of work was the containing the significant amount of concrete demolition that was required in order to remove the existing joint system from entering the river below. Since the bridge was 9600 lineal feet in length and more than 50 feet above the water’s surface, RAM elected to utilize underside bridge access equipment from the road surface.
After the completion of the Neuse River bridge the remaining work focuses on the two much older structures carrying US 17 over the Trent River a half a mile to the west. The existing bridges have expansion joints every 65 feet for a total of 6,300 lineal feet and did not have any sort of sealant to protect the piers below that support the bridge. In an effort to extend the life of the bridges, the entire bridge deck surface had a 3/8” epoxy waterproofing overlay placed on it and all the expansion joints were sealed with a foam joint sealant. As New Bern is a coastal city there are limited major roadways so the department of transportation required that a minimum of 2 lanes be open to traffic at all times and that the project be completed by mid-June but due to the temperature sensitive nature of the materials used the project could not be started until March 1st, leaving a small window of time in order to complete the scope of work.
Adding to the already limited time frame, RAM faced a number of lost working days due to weather impacts but with a collaborative effort between the North Carolina Department of Transportation, RAM’s workforce including members from RAM’s Concrete Restoration Department who brought signification experience with the installation of the expansion joints, and all subcontractors involved the project was completed on time and under budget due to cost saving planning with the Maintenance of Traffic.