Bridge Award – ACI New England

Category: Awards

Cherry Hill Road Bridge – Middlefield, Connecticut

The New England Chapter of the American Concrete Institute, Inc. and The New England Ready Mixed Concrete Associations honored Nathan L. Jacobson & Associates, Inc. with an award in 2001 for their design of the Cherry Hill Road Bridge project in Middlefield, Connecticut. This award is given each year to formally offer recognition to projects in New England, whose design and construction represent the best in concept, originality and application of concrete and concrete products.

Besides being adjacent to Wadsworth Falls State Park, the project site was determined to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places due to the presence of an arch gravity brownstone dam immediately upstream of the bridge, remains of the original 1868 bridge abutments, 19th century dam abutments, one or more water power flumes, and buried mill foundations. One of the flumes ran immediately behind one of the abutments of the existing deteriorated 50 ft. twin span concrete tee-beam bridge.

Given the close proximity of the State Park and various historic features, principal design objectives for the new bridge included: modification of roadway geometrics to improve pedestrian and driver safety while protecting historic site attributes; accommodation of the hydraulic implications of removal of the dam upstream of the bridge; and, a context sensitive design which reflected existing historic elements and complimented the adjacent State Park setting.

The new bridge consists of a 91 ft. simple span prestressed bulb-tee beam superstructure with composite concrete deck on concrete gravity abutments poured on rock. The bridge design included roadway geometric improvements; elimination of the center pier in the river and increase in low chord elevation; minimal impacts to historic site features which included spanning of the flume that ran behind the existing abutment; and, attention to aesthetics. Aesthetic bridge treatments included a pigmented and sand blasted crash-tested FHWA approved concrete balustrade bridge rail with a concrete mix designed for densification and durability of the rail; simulated stone masonry substructure including the appearance of a concrete bridge seat “poured on brownstone” and “stepped” wingwall tops designed to match adjacent existing brownstone; color staining of sidewalks, curbs and fascia beams; and, steel-backed timber guiderail.

The project also included improvements to the adjacent Wadsworth Falls State Park parking area, including handicapped accessibility and landscaping.

In 2000, the project also received a Merit Award from the Connecticut Engineers in Private Practice, Inc.