2015 Civil and Environmental Engineering Winners

Note: There was a tie for 1st place during the competition.

1st Prize A – Team 7: Rehabilitation of the Merritt Parkway Bridge over the Saugatuck River

Sponsored by- CT Department of Transportation

Sponsor Advisors – Rabih Barakat, P.E.; Jon Hagert, P.E.; and David Gruttadauria, P.E.

Team: Ivan Anderson, Hamza Aslam, Kelly Kitchell and Kevin McMullen

Faculty Advisor – Dr. Arash Esmaili Zaghi

The Merritt Parkway Bridge over the Saugatuck River, ConnDOT Bridge #00728, is located in Westport, CT. It is an open spandrel steel arch bridge and was constructed in 1938. Over the past 76 years, the Saugatuck River Bridge has survived the tests of time and is still operating despite the large amount of corrosion that the structural members of the bridge have experienced. The bridge was repaired once in 1990. During a recent routine inspection in December 2012, several superstructure members of the bridge were found to be structurally deficient.

The purpose of our project was to determine which structural members within the superstructure were critical and in need of repair. We primarily focused on columns, stringers, floor beams, and ribs. Suggested rehabilitation methods were provided for those critical members to restore the structural capacity of the bridge. Using the program CSI Bridge, we have developed two 3D models of the entire superstructure and deck of the bridge. The first model is the bridge as it was in 1990 and the second is the bridge in its current condition including section loss due to corrosion. We compared the capacities of each structural member and applied a load rating in order to determine critical members. HL- 93 loading, which is the minimum load that all bridges in the US, was applied to the models in order to determine its response. Since the Merritt is a limited service parkway, it is not imperative for the bridge to service HL-93 loading. Therefore we tested the response of the models against the permit loads.

This bridge has major importance in the transportation network of Connecticut because it is the main commuter route between Connecticut and New York. The Merritt Parkway has also been recognized as a National Scenic Byway and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.Our approach increases the capacity of the bridge while still maintaining its historic architecture. Our design suggestions comply with the ConnDOT Merritt Parkway Bridge Restoration Guide. The rehabilitation methods that will be used to repair the Merritt Parkway Bridge over the Saugatuck River will increase the capacity of the structure to allow it to continue to service daily traffic and will maintain the architectural appeal of the original design


1st Prize B – Team 8: Rehabilitation of Structure No. 00728, Route 15 over the Saugatuck River in Westport, CT

Sponsored by- CT Department of Transportation

Sponsor Advisors – Rabih Barakat, P.E.; Jon Hagert, P.E.; David Gruttadauria, P.E

Team: Alexandra Hain, Adam Przekopski, Matthew MacMurray, Eli Española

Faculty Advisor – Dr. Arash Esmaili Zaghi

Structure No. 00728 is an open-spandrel arch bridge originally built in 1938. It is located in Westport, CT over the Saugatuck River along Route 15, also known as the Merritt Parkway. In 1990, the bridge was widened from its original 67’7” to a new width of 70’4” to allow for better flow of modern traffic. On December 20, 2010 a routine inspection was completed downgrading the bridge to an overall condition of a four on a scale from zero to nine.Any structure rating less than five requires attention. Due to the results of the routine inspection, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CONNDOT) initiated a refurbishment project for Structure No. 00728 to ensure the bridge remains structurally sound.

AMEA Engineering Associates Inc. was tasked with finding the load rating factors for the structure in both its current state and reference state, the structure after the 1990 rehabilitation and widening. The load rating factors for the reference structure are needed in order to determine whether the bridge could handle the loading in perfect condition. The current load rating is needed in order to determine what the bridge can handle with its current section loss.

CSiBridge was used in order to model and analyze the structure to find the load rating factors. One type of each element (column, stringer, floor beam) was load rated. In order to select the members, analysis was run on the whole bridge to determine where in the structure each type of element is most critical. Following determination of critical members and modeling the structure, load rating factors were calculated for the structure as designed and the structure given section losses. Due to the historic nature of the Merritt Parkway and accompanying restrictions, analysis was limited to the Permit Loads the structure is exposed to.