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