Michael Baker International awarded Harbor River Bridge contract in South Carolina


Engineering and planning consultancy Michael Baker International (MBI) has been selected to assist the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) in managing the replacement of the existing Harbor River Bridge in Beaufort County.

The company has been awarded an Engineering and Construction Engineering and Inspection (CE&I) contract to oversee the design-build contractor’s plan development, environmental permitting efforts, and the construction of the new fixed-span bridge that will improve safety and eliminate the need for a full-time bridge operator.

The current swing-span bridge along US Route 21, also known as Sea Island Parkway, is more than 78 years old and provides a single point of access to Harbor Island, Hunting Island, and Fripp Island. The new 3,353ft (1,022m) long fixed-span bridge will provide safety improvements for visitors traveling on the bridge, as well as the waterway for the local shrimping industry and sailing communities passing underneath.

The upgraded design will offer a 65ft (19.8m) high clearance over the Harbor River and extends travel lanes to 12ft (3.6m). The new structure will include 10ft (3m) wide shoulders in each direction.

The Michael Baker team will oversee the design of the new bridge and roadway approaches to ensure that the client receives a project that meets SCDOT Design Standards, the Request for Proposal contract requirements, and the design-build team’s commitments.

The company’s scope also includes overseeing the right of way purchase, environmental permitting, utility relocations, and the demolition of the existing bridge. MBI’s CE&I team will provide construction management and administration, quality control of construction materials and processes, safety monitoring, and environmental compliance evaluations to ensure that the project is constructed to SCDOT standards and follows all environmental permit commitments. Traffic will continue to flow on the current bridge until construction of the new bridge is complete. Construction is scheduled to begin in the autumn of 2018 and be completed by November 2021.

“The Harbor River Bridge is a historic structure in the Beaufort community, but it is increasingly outdated and restricted,” said John Walsh, office executive for MBI’s South Carolina operations. “The replacement of this bridge will improve safety and connectivity for residents and visitors, and will provide greater access for roadway and waterway users. Our team’s design and construction support will help ensure the quality and commitments made in the development of the project are carried through in the completion of the project.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).