Building a bridge? Here’s a checklist for maximizing its benefits

Case Study: Involving the community

Location: Cooper River Bridge, South Carolina

Challenges:

1) Construct the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America in a way that maximizes the benefit to surrounding communities and the local economy, while protecting and enhancing wetland environments.

2) Remove two obsolete bridges and erect a 2.5-mile, eight-lane bridge, and avoid disturbing the environmentally sensitive area.

Bridge constrcution

photo credit: bobosh_t via photopin cc

How do you make the most of that situation?

1. Select a design that will last a century.

2. Use models and simulations to evaluate the effects of design options on the ecosystem of the Charleston estuary.

3. Apply the lessons learned from similar projects, such as the Öresund Bridge – the 10-mile road and rail tunnel/bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden. Since the Öresund Bridge project is very similar, utilize members of its project team to draw on their experience.

4. Starting early in the process, establish close cooperation with local authorities and organizations to maximize the utility of the bridge, and quickly address social and environmental issues before they turn into difficulties. Encourage dialog with local participants, including government officials, organizations and residents. Maintain this dialog throughout the construction process.

5. Based on the dialog, select diamond-shaped towers from among several options and add a pedestrian walkway and bicycle lanes to the bridge.

6. Maximize the use of local construction workers and suppliers.

7. Create task forces across agency borders to advise on particular issues. For example, have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers monitor the demolition of the old bridges, and ensure that the wetlands are protected and enhanced by involving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the South Carolina Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

8. Choose lighting that minimizes impact on sea turtles and migratory birds.

9. Restore wetlands. Reuse material from the demolished bridges to create new, artificial reefs along the coast.

10. To avoid erosion, reforest the construction site as soon as possible.

 

Peo Halvarsson

Peo Halvarsson

Skanska USA Project Executive

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