Replacing a Critical Crossing over the Housatonic River
In 2019, the Town of Great Barrington secured the funding to replace the Division Street bridge, a vital crossing to the Town that supports moderate local traffic and large truck traffic volumes as well as the local agricultural community. Tighe & Bond was selected to complete preliminary engineering and an Alternatives Analysis, the first phase for bridge replacement. In later 2019 the bridge was closed by Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) due to the latest inspection findings and load rating report. Three structural elements were rated with zero capacity. Upon closure of the bridge, Tighe & Bond was awarded an amendment to repair the zero-rated elements and reopen the bridge to local traffic.
In December of 2019, MassDOT offered to fund the bridge replacement essentially taking the bridge out of the Town’s hands, but effectively delaying construction and prolonging the road closure for several years. The Town decided to invest funds into reopening the bridge to the original design load of H-15 to meet the Town’s needs until the bridge is replaced.
Tighe & Bond executed preliminary engineering design services to complete a Bridge Type Selection Worksheet, conforming to MassDOT standards, for a replacement structure. Preliminary design service included: survey, geotech, hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H), permitting, transportation, and structural.
The permitting evaluation considered construction impacts for dredge and fill of evaluated alternatives considering inland waterways, regulated floodways, and endangered species. Permitting was advanced to include a proactive conversation with the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to discuss the potential impacts of the alternatives on the three identified endangered species as well as potential actions that could be taken to minimize impacts.
Roadway alignment and configuration considered the Great Barrington Complete Streets Plan as well as the existing right of way to provide a roadway cross section that would expand the width of the road at the bridge to allow for safe bike and pedestrian use without requiring any property takes. Three viable structure types were considered for the superstructure replacement considering constructability, cost, and context.
Simultaneously, Tighe & Bond completed a structural evaluation of the existing structure and reviewed the latest load rating and inspection reports to re-open the closed bridge to support an H-15 truck, the original design load, until the structure can be replaced. In October 2022, a temporary prefabricated bridge over Division Street was installed, and the crossing reopened for the first time in three years.
Tighe & Bond proposed creative solutions to work within the client’s tight budget, adapted to protect endangered species, and proposed design features that met state requirements and accommodated future growth and shared use.
The engineers at Tighe & Bond worked on the design, permitting, and hydrologic & hydraulic analysis for the bridge replacement at Division Street in Great Barrington. The replacement will result in a newly designed bridge to support additional local and truck traffic.
During the project, Tighe & Bond engineers took timelapse videos of the dismantling of the Division Street bridge, as well as the installation of the temporary prefabricated bridge. These videos are available on our YouTube page, linked below.