The bridge carrying Route 44 over Route 24 in Raynham, MA, serves as a critical asset within the local and regional transportation networks, providing a link between Providence, Rhode Island, and Southeast Massachusetts, and between the two halves of Raynham. Originally constructed in 1950, the bridge had reached the end of its service life and was exhibiting severe structural deficiencies. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) selected VHB as lead designer on a design-build contract for final design and construction to remove the existing four-span bridge and replace it with a two-span, 166-foot-long bridge with added bike lanes and widened sidewalks.
Like many modern-day bridge replacements, the primary goal on this project was to accelerate construction and minimize traffic disruption—a major challenge when faced with high traffic volumes and limited real estate. Route 44 and Route 24 experience daily traffic volumes exceeding 25,000 and 60,000 vehicles per day, respectively, and the Route 44 corridor was constrained on either side by wetlands. Due to the limited width of the existing bridge and the significant traffic demands, conventional staged reconstruction would have required three separate, year-long phases, as well as the establishment of a middle work zone on Route 44 to split eastbound and westbound traffic.
This challenge presented the design-build team with an opportunity to use an accelerated construction method never applied before to a MassDOT project—a lateral slide. The innovative technique, which involved building half of the new bridge in a temporary alignment adjacent to the existing bridge, on temporary supports, and then using hydraulic jacks to slide it into place—improved safety by eliminating the middle work zone and reduced the duration of the bridge reconstruction by an entire year.
Additional project features included improving pedestrian, bicycle, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations along Route 44; reconfiguring the ramp system to eliminate a dangerous weave condition on Route 24; improving the roadway drainage system; installing interim and final traffic signals; relocating utilities; eliminating existing piers in anticipation of future widening of Route 24; and raising the vertical clearance below the bridge.