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Projects of the decade: PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s striking bridge is part of a larger project updating highway interchanges in North America.

Role

A Parsons Brinckerhoff-led joint venture managed design and construction of the entire project.

Project description

The striking new bridge is part of a much larger project that also includes four highly complex highway interchanges. It is the culmination of 10 years of teamwork among four project sponsors representing three local jurisdictions and the federal government.

Named for the 28th president of the United States, the two-span, 12-lane bridge replaces an existing six-lane bridge of the same name over the Potomac River between Oxon Hill, Maryland, and Alexandria, Virginia.

The bridge carries Interstates 95 and 495, forming part of the Capital Beltway, and accommodates much of the daily traffic to and from major employers, including the US Pentagon.

The new structure features higher drawbridges to accommodate shipping and more lanes − allowing for high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes and possibly rail transit in the future.

Challenges

The Parsons Brinckerhoff-led joint venture had to manage and schedule interfaces for multiple parties including 20 major construction contracts.

Several state-of-the-art programme management innovations ensured the project stayed on time and on budget.
A construction management plan written by Parsons Brinckerhoff is now cited as the industry standard and the Federal Highway Administration now requires all new ‘mega’ project teams to create such a document.

Every environmental mitigation goal was met or surpassed. This included an air-bubble curtain system to protect fish from the effects of piling, the creation of six nearby artificial reefs, new wetland and woodland areas, a bald eagle sanctuary and fish passageways for spawning.

Other parties

Project sponsors Virginia Department of Transportation; Maryland State Highway Administration; District of Columbia Department of Transportation; and the Federal Highway Administration.

Start/finish dates

Construction started in October 2000. The first six-lane span opened in May 2006 and the second in May 2008.
Three major interchanges have been completed and the final one is scheduled for completion in 2013.

Price

$2.5bn (£1.6bn)

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