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Hillery Street Bridge Spans Three Centuries - Government ...

Hillery Street Bridge Spans Three Centuries - Government ...

Hillery Street Bridge Spans Three Centuries - Government

Hillery Street BridgeSpans Three CenturiesReplacement bridge recaptures historic past.By Bruce J. KaraliusWhen the original HilleryStreet Bridge was constructedin 1898, it was a fourspan,simply supported, rivetedPratt Pony Truss carrying one laneof traffic in each direction across thePassaic River in northern New Jersey.The only bridge of its type in PassaicCounty, it had many of the distinctivedesign features of the late 19th century.Based on the design developed byParsons Brinckerhoff (PB, www.pbworld.com), the Hillery Street Bridgewas replaced with a modern structurewith a load-carrying capacity of 40 tons.As a result of the team’s efforts to retainor replicate key features of the originalbridge, the new bridge not only meetstoday’s engineering standards, it alsoreflects its past.The Hillery Street Bridge links WestPaterson and Totowa, alleviating congestionon adjacent roadways, and providescommuters with access to state andinterstate routes. Due to its age and configuration,the original structure nolonger met current geometric and safetyrequirements. However, because of itsimportance to local residents, businessowners, and the traveling public, retainingthe bridge was a priority for itsowner, Passaic County.During the conceptual design phase,a study was undertaken to determine thebest alternative for correcting substandardconditions on and at the bridge. Itbecame evident that the structure neededsignificant rehabilitation if it were tocontinue to safely serve motorists andpedestrians. In particular, the existingbridge no longer met current requirementsfor safety due to its substandardgeometrics and load-carrying capacity.The bridge was unable to accommodatecurrent and projected volumes of traffic.Moreover, there had been an increase inthe number of accidents at the intersectionimmediately west of the bridge.There also were concerns regarding continuedmaintenance costs related to theservice life of the bridge. Consideringthese issues, PB recommended replacement.The New Jersey Department ofTransportation, in concert with theBridging Old and NewThe original Hillery Street bridge was constructed in 1898 as a four-span,simply supported riveted Pratt Pony Truss carrying one lane of traffic in eachdirection.The span of each truss measured approximately 88 ft, and the totallength of the bridge was about 350 ft.By the late 1900s, the original bridge was deemed structurally deficient andfunctionally obsolete. It consisted of the Pratt through-trusses with a floorbeam/stringerfloor system and a steel grid deck.The width of the bridge fromcurb to curb was just 17 ft 6 in. Sidewalk brackets cantilevered from the panelpoints of the trusses, about 11 ft on center, with the trusses supported bypiers and abutments constructed of masonry stone blocks. Each sidewalk wasfive ft six in. wide.The New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office determined that theHillery Street Bridge was individually eligible for listing on the NationalRegister of Historic Places as a structure “... that embodies the distinctivecharacteristics of a type, period, or method of construction.”The only multi-span, riveted construction example of its type remaining inPassaic County, the original bridge had many unique features: its riveted connectionswere fairly uncommon on Pratt-type trusses because of their lowercompatibility with rigid connections; knee braces were connected to verticaltruss members to provide stability; and the ornamental pedestrian railing wasa one-of-a-kind design, like those of other county bridges spanning the PassaicRiver.The design engineer, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and contractor, RosangelaContracting Company, Inc, made significant efforts to comply with a memorandumof agreement between the New Jersey State Historic PreservationOffice and the Federal Highway Administration to preserve and replicate historicelements into the new structure. For example, original trusses are a partof the structural framework. Ornamental rosette-patterned pedestrian railingswere restored and reused. Capstones from the original bridge piers,abutments, and wingwalls were reused. Cantilevered sidewalk brackets werereplicated because deterioration and substandard thickness prevented theirreuse. The stone color and pattern of the piers, abutments, and wingwallswere replicated because the original stone was unsalvageable. Additionally,although not required, period reproduction lighting fixtures were installed onthe bridge. Finally, a historic marker identifying the bridge’s significance waserected at the site.www.govengr.com GOVERNMENT ENGINEERING ■ JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2010 ■ 17

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