Michael Baker International designing Arkansas’ first ‘lateral slide’ bridge project

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Leading engineering, design, and planning consultancy Michael Baker International (MBI) has been selected by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) to implement the state’s first highway bridge replacement project to use the innovative Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) method.

MBI has been awarded the contract to provide design services for the replacement of two parallel bridges over De Roche Creek on Interstate 30 (I-30) in southwest Arkansas near the City of Arkadelphia. Using the ABC technique, commonly known as a lateral slide bridge replacement, ARDOT intends to use this project to introduce another ABC replacement method in Arkansas, since the practice helps minimize traffic impacts and improves passenger and worker safety. A national leader in the implementation of ABC projects, MBI will perform bridge replacement design and offer guidance to ARDOT engineers on the implementation of the lateral slide to the state’s emerging ABC program.

As the initial task under this contract, the company conducted a Bridge Construction Staging Study to compare various lateral slide replacement options. After comparing the safety, traffic impact, cost and other factors, MBI recommended an approach that uses two separate lateral slides to replace both bridges. In this approach, two new bridges will be constructed on temporary falsework to the north and south of the existing parallel bridges, while crews construct a permanent substructure for the proposed bridges underneath the existing bridges. Once completed, two separate bridge-slide operations will be performed to move each of the new bridges into their permanent positions. This option limits traffic disruption to two short-term periods, roughly three days each, during which traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction.

The design phase of the project is anticipated to be completed in October, with construction work expected to begin in spring 2019. In addition to the design work, MBI will also provide construction support services, including extensive on-site guidance and coordination during the slide operations, throughout the duration of the construction phase.

“I-30 is a heavily trafficked interstate route that connects Little Rock and other cities including Memphis, Tennessee to Dallas, so using ABC to replace the bridges over the De Roche Creek was the ideal design and construction choice to help reduce lane closure time and improve safety,” said Mike Stengel, vice president and office executive for MBI’s Little Rock office. “Our expertise with ABC will help ARDOT implement its first lateral slide bridge replacement project to serve as a model for the Department as they continue to implement this innovative approach across the state.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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