Soon after it opened in 1953, the Milford-Montague Toll Bridge was selected as one of the ten most beautiful bridges by the American Institute of Steel Construction. This truss bridge is located within the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area and is close to the Pocono Mountain resorts. Consequently, traffic increases nearly 50 percent during the summer vacation months. Based on recent inspection findings, the client decided a major rehabilitation was necessary. Moreover, there were restrictions: construction work had to be maximized outside of the tourist seasons while minimizing, or eliminating, the amount of time the bridge would be closed.
With a strong history of expertise and innovation with truss bridges, Modjeski and Masters was selected to provide the necessary engineering services. The rehabilitation process began with an in-depth bridge inspection and structural analysis, which was supported by an aggressive public involvement effort. As part of the inspection process, our in-house instrumentation group was deployed to determine more accurately the level of effort needed for the rehabilitation. Our instrumentation work, linked with an advanced level of structural analysis, yielded findings that minimized the construction effort and impact on the traveling public. We were able to successfully meet all the client’s goals.
Working with the public and the client to minimize bridge closures, we selected precast deck panels for use in redecking the bridge. This allowed bridge strengthening and repainting, along with replacing the toll plaza, to progress with very short and intermittent 15 to 30-minute closures. Within the duration of this project, the FHWA required an evaluation of gusset plates due to a recent major bridge collapse. Our bridge engineers evaluated the gusset plates to satisfy FHWA requirements while still meeting existing project deadlines. Construction for the bridge rehabilitation was completed ahead of schedule at a cost that did not exceed our engineer’s estimate. The Milford-Montague Toll Bridge rehabilitation project represents more than an update to a piece of transportation infrastructure. It binds the communities, states and geographic regions together…culturally, economically, socially, and even historically.