Speaking Engagements

March 24 - 26, 2020

Southeast Bridge Preservation Partnership

Hot Springs Convention Center & Hot Springs Hotel Hot Springs, Arkansas Visit Event Website

Heat Straightening Challenges & Successes – WVDOT

West Virginia has numerous steel girder overpasses that are built with low clearances over major roadways with high truck volumes. With recent booms in the oil and gas industry, larger equipment is being transported over the highways and leading to an increase in impacts to West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) bridges. With impact damages on the rise, the WVDOT Maintenance Division has initiated a comprehensive program to repair these damages, overseeing various types of heat straightening repair projects managed in-house, as well as in partnership with consultants such as Burgess & Niple, Inc. (B&N). In this presentation, two bridge projects will be reviewed, both of which are built-up, rivetted steel girder sections over U.S. Route 50.

Repair on the Second Street Bridge near Clarksburg, West Virginia was completed in October 2019. The project was designed to heat straighten the damage without removal of the lower angles. The results of the repair were not as desired with some deformation and creasing remaining. The lower angle cracked and additional welding was needed to restore the capacity. The bridge underwent cleaning, painting and other miscellaneous repairs as well. Plans for this bridge were developed by WVDOT Maintenance Division.

The I-77 Northbound Bridge near Parkersburg, West Virginia is currently in design. Lessons learned on Second Street are being incorporated into the design being completed by B&N. Damaged sections of the lower angles will be removed while a temporary plate is used to support the dead loads. The method of repair of steel cracking in the web will also be presented.

B&N Presenter:

Matt Lewellyn, PE

Preserving the Thurmond Bridge on a Limited Budget

Situated in the small town of Thurmond, West Virginia, the historic Thurmond Bridge is an important crossing over the rushing waters of the New River Gorge for pedestrians, motorists and trains. The West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) structure is cantilevered from the 827-foot-long truss and deep girder span bridge owned by the railroad. The structure has only a single lane that is used by both pedestrians and motorists, many of whom are traveling to the town's train depot or nearby tourism spots. The Thurmond Bridge's unusual design is further complicated by its location in an area on the National Register of Historic Places and within the protected New River Gorge National River.

In response to routine inspection findings and public concerns to better accommodate pedestrians, WVDOT selected B&N to investigate bridge preservation techniques that would satisfy the project goals on a limited budget. The project goals included increasing the load posting to 12 tons, providing safe travel on a single lane for both vehicles and pedestrians, improving the structural stability and maintaining the historical significance. Due to the environmental sensitivity, replacing the bridge wasn't an option. 

This presentation will detail the methods used and solutions implemented for preserving the aging structure, including:

  • Improving pedestrian safety by incorporating refuge bays using lightweight, corrosion resistant FRP
  • Innovating cost-effective steel retrofits to strengthen gusset plates, truss members and girder flanges
  • Enhancing stability by using modeling software to identify bridge bearing anchorage improvements 
  • Stabilizing concrete deterioration by using pier cap encasing with post-tensioning rods
B&N Presenter:

Matt Lewellyn, PE

Matt Lewellyn, PE, Project Engineer, Roadway and Bridge Inspection, Design and Rehab

Project Engineer, Roadway and Bridge Inspection, Design and Rehab