Connecting communities and creating civic pride. These were the motivators in mind when Ralph Modjeski designed the Henry Avenue Bridge over the Wissahickon Creek in the early 20th Century. He also knew that the bridge would need to compliment the scenic Fairmount Park setting, yet be durable enough to deliver many years of service. The end result – a graceful yet robust arch structure adorned with rustic masonry and stone-cladding. Today, however, ever-increasing traffic demands have resulted in deteriorating roadway deck conditions. And because the bridge is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, PennDOT sought the help of a versatile bridge design firm. One with proven experience in guiding clients through sensitive agency processes. Returning to familiar ties, PennDOT called on the trusted pedigree of Modjeski and Masters.
As active partners, our knowledgeable staff met early with resource agencies such as PADEP, SHPO, and other stakeholders to facilitate consensus building. Next, our experts utilized the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation to identify acceptable concepts for the rehabilitation. Our technical experts developed a comprehensive solution to address both lifecycle and context sensitive concerns. This includes a new latex modified concrete overlay for the roadway, partial deck replacement, and new watertight deck joints for sustained durability. As part of the context sensitive solution, new sidewalks and substructure repairs will utilize tinted concrete to match the original color. Aesthetic period lighting, selected by Philadelphia University and the residents of East Falls, will also be incorporated into the final design. A short distance away from this historic arch bridge, Modjeski and Masters is also providing similar bridge lifecycle services for the Henry Avenue bridges over SEPTA and CSX rails.
Achieving a successful project required Modjeski and Masters to be flexible, and to work collaboratively with PennDOT and local residents. This project is also exemplary of our long-term client relationships founded on successful past projects. We’re as proud today to be able to maintain the great bridges that connect our clients’ communities. It’s part of what drives us to stay committed beyond completion.
- Rehabilitation – Design (Preliminary & Final)
- Context Sensitive Design
- Safety Improvements
- Construction Support
Henry Avenue over Wissahickon Creek / Lincoln Drive
- Main Span – 300-ft.
- Total Length – 688-ft.
- Lanes on Structure - four lanes, two sidewalks
Henry Avenue over SEPTA / CSX
- Main Span – 93-ft.
- Total Length – 562-ft.
- Lanes on Structure – four lanes, two sidewalks
“[to be] visited and viewed by every Philadelphian and every Philadelphia guest – an objective point and an outlet for civic pride…”Philadelphia Department of Public Works (circa 1914)
John M. Kulicki, PE (Principal-In-Charge)
Richard A. Martino, PE (Project Manager)
Tony B. Temeles, PE (Project Engineer)
Richard E. Jackson, PE (Project Engineer)
Michael L. Alestra (Lead Technician)
Modjeski and Masters also acknowledges former employees Boyd P. Strain, PE and John F. Bergman, PE, in addition to team subconsultants McMahon Associates, A. D. Marble and Hunt Engineering.
Photos by Michael Murphy