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Jonathon Hulton Bridge

Hulton Bridge

Harmar - Oakmont

USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
New Kensington West - Zone 17; 0597 4486
Motor vehicles, 4 lanes; SR2082; sidewalk downstream side

-- Freeport Rd [old PA28] (Harmarville) on right descending bank of Allegheny River
-- Hulton Rd (Oakmont) on right descending bank of Allegheny River

(RDB to LDB) NS RR (Conrail Conemaugh Div); Allegheny River at Mile 12.7
deck, haunched girder

482.5 ft clearance channel span
64.2 ft vertical clearance channel span

TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):
1,633 ft

Lock and Dam No. 2, Highland Park, normal pool level 721.0 ft

2013, PennDOT
Opened: October 20, 2015

Scorned by bridge enthusiasts and historians, appreciated by commuters and local businesses, and widely-praised by bridge engineers.

The enthusiasts wanted to save the 1908 through-truss bridge, perhaps for bikes and pedestrians. Studies found this to be infeasible and with the replacement bridge just inches upstream, it wasn't practical to retain the liability. It may be challenging to find the new bridge inspiring aesthetically -- function is foremost -- though the curves of the haunched girders are interesting from a kayak (no one sees them from the bridge). And the half-hearted attempt at decorative pier caps is a headshaker: concrete molded to look something like stone (the "courses and joints" don't make sense with the shape) with dark metal arch insets that don't relate to anything. But for anyone who ever sat on the old two-lane bridge, through multiple traffic light cycles, bouncing in place with the weight of opposing vehicles, this new bridge easily satisfies it's purpose for being.

Located about 14 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, the Hulton Bridge spans the Allegheny River between the suburbs of Oakmont and Harmarville. The $64.8 million haunched girder structure includes four 11-foot lanes, a four-foot median and six-foot shoulders on each side of the roadway, and a sidewalk on the downstream side of the bridge. High Steel Structures LLC fabricated 6,152 tons of A572 Grade 50 steel, which was painted. The bridge was designed by Gannett Fleming, Inc. with McCormick Taylor and constructed by Brayman Construction Corporation.

In the early 1990s, the previous through-truss bridge received a much needed renovation, but over time the deteriorating structure failed to handle increasing usage and modern traffic demands. In 2009, PennDOT announced plans for the design of a new replacement bridge, which would be constructed adjacent to and inches away from the original structure. In anticipation of the 2016 U.S. Open tournament hosted at the Oakmont Country Club, the timing of design and construction was paramount in order to accommodate the nearly 300,000 visitors expected to the area.

The navigation channel could not be blocked more than 72 hours during construction of this new bridge. Once the side spans were completed, the 500-foot channel span was completed by lifting the pre-built central section: 282-foot-long by 75-foot-wide and comprising five parallel girders.

PennDOT newsletter May 2015: "A strand jack is a hydraulic device that utilizes multiple steel cables, or strands, to lift extremely large loads. Each strand bundle runs through a cylinder that employs gripping heads. These gripping heads provide a mechanical locking of the strand bundle at all times. A lifting or lowering movement is achieved by opening or closing the two gripping heads on each jack. Mammoet USA North, Inc., the subcontractor providing the strand jacking devices on the project, controls the lifting process with a computer. While the girder line span was assembled on a barge, four 600 ton jacks were positioned on the corners of the bridge. The jacks have a built-in skid track to allow lateral shifting but they cannot move transversely, so positioning the barges in precise locations in the river below was critical. The first day involved situating the working barges and floating the steel into place. Once in position, the barge was anchored in the exact location by using steel piles driven into the river bottom. Day two brought the actual lift. The strand bundles were attached to lifting beams under the span. The lift began at 10 a.m. Slowly the span was lifted into place, only inches at a time, until it reached the bridge approximately 50 feet from the river below. The strand jacking was completed at 6 p.m., and with only minor adjustments needed, crews began the 10 splice connections which involved over 10,000 high strength bolts. The final day saw the continuation of bolt installation and the removal of the barges and steel pile from the river bed." NSBA: "To safely open the navigational channel, 25% of the girders' 10,000 field splice bolts needed to be in place and fully torqued, and 50% were required to release and remove the strand jacks. All five girders were erected simultaneously, with only a 48-hour channel closure.""

2018 National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) - Merit Award Winner, Major Span category;
2016 Roads & Bridges magazine - number seven on its Top 10 Bridges list;
2016 Eugene C. Figg, Jr. Medal from the International Bridge Conference;
2016 Award of Merit from ENR Mid-Atlantic;
2016 Outstanding Highway Engineering Award from the American Society of Highway Engineers, Pittsburgh Section;
2015 Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Pittsburgh Section;
2015 Outstanding New Major Bridge Award from the Association for Bridge, Construction, and Design, Pittsburgh Chapter;
2016 Transportation Project of the Year in the March of Dimes Transportation, Building, and Construction Awards

Hulton Bridge (1908-2015)


field check; Brayman Construction Corporation; American Institute of Steel Construction / National Steel Bridge Alliance; Civil + Structural Engineer Media; PennDOT McCormick Taylor civil engineers; Tribune Review

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Page created: 04-Mar-2023
Last modified: 04-Mar-2023

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