The City of Wichita selected MKEC to design a replacement for its South Broadway Bridge across the Union Pacific Railroad’s mainline in south Wichita. The existing 800-foot-long bridge was a 37-span, concrete slab bridge built in the 1930s. The excessive length of the bridge was due to the acute 15 degree angle at which Broadway crossed the UPRR.
We conducted a concept study to determine the most feasible replacement structure to meet the project’s objectives and requirements. The study considered factors such as bridge size and type, private property infringements, roadway design speed, street closures and traffic, railroad right-of-way, and overall construction costs. The successful bridge engineering solution realigns Broadway to minimize the distance required to properly span the UPRR right-of-way by featuring a three-span steel plate girder. MKEC’s solution also allowed the project to be open to Broadway’s heavy traffic throughout the entire construction phase. This was achieved by using a cost-effective shoofly detour that incorporated a Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) abutment and a portion of the old bridge. The simplicity of the bridge design, known as quarter symmetric, provided the contractor and steel fabricator with a very predictable process which is attributed to reducing the project cost by an estimated $3 million.
“Through creative simplicity we were able to save the city $3 million.”
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