On July 19, 2015, the Tex Wash Bridge on Interstate 10 (I-10) in Riverside County, Calif., collapsed during an intense rainstorm event, causing havoc on a crucial link between California and Arizona. But thanks to precast concrete and an accelerated bridge construction (ABC) strategy, engineers were able to replace the bridge and get it fully operational in just a matter of weeks.
Following the collapse, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) quickly agreed that an ABC design was the best way to replace the collapsed bridge with a 105-ft, single-span structure as quickly as possible. The new bridge accommodates two lanes of traffic with an additional 5-ft-wide shoulder and standard barrier rails.
The wash channel bank was realigned upstream and the abutment was relocated to mitigate and prevent future flood washouts.
Speed was of the essence for this emergency project, and designers took advantage of the many benefits of precast concrete to meet the rapid delivery goals. Using precast concrete girders eliminated the need for temporary falsework, which accelerated girder placement and limited the environmental impact on the channel area. Precast concrete segmental abutment and wingwall elements were used to accommodate a staggered construction schedule. In addition, an adjacent precast concrete girder arrangement meant the project did not require deck forms, which further shortened the timeline.
During construction, precast concrete girder, abutment, and wingwall elements were fabricated concurrently in a precast plant while cast-in piles were placed at the bridge site. After the site was prepped, precast concrete elements were transported to the site from the plant 130 miles away.
The close collaborative working environment on the project, and relentless focus on accelerated delivery, enabled the team to reopen the bridge for traffic just 67 days after the original bridge collapsed.