Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania


337 Fourth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Phone: (412) 261-0710 Email: Get Directions

Monday, June 12, 2023

Technical Sessions

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Time: 1:30-4:30 PM
Room: Baltimore 3/4/5

Session Chair: Steve Shanley, Allegheny County

IBC 23-01: Cast Steel Nodes for Bridge Structures Designed and Built with HSS
Jennifer Anna Pazdon, P.E., CAST CONNEX, New York, NY; Carlos de Oliveira, CAST CONNEX, Toronto, ON Canada

Bridge designers and stakeholders are increasingly taking advantage of the significant efficiency and serviceability benefits the use of tubular members (Hollow Structural Sections and pipe) offer in the design and construction of truss bridges. The proposed addition of welded joint details for tubular members in the Bridge Welding Code (AASHTO/AWS D1.5) would further accelerate that trend. Globally, tubular members are very often leveraged in the design of highway, rail, and pedestrian bridges, and in most of these cases, cast steel nodes are leveraged at the key intersections of the tubular elements.

The proposed paper and presentation will discuss the advantages tubular members offer in bridge design, will discuss some of the issues and challenges around connection design and performance in tubular connections in bridge structures, and will discuss how cast steel nodes can be used to address all of the challenges associated with connections between tubular members in bridges. Specific focus will be on how cast steel nodes enhance the stiffness, strength, and fatigue performance and simplify the fabrication of tubular connections, and thus it will be shown how the use of cast steel nodes improve the overall structural efficiency, reduce deflections, improve vibration performance, and improve coating system performance and longevity of bridge structures. The paper and presentation will then present several examples of highway, rail, and pedestrian bridges incorporating tubular members and cast steel nodes from around the world and in the United States.

IBC 23-02: Use of ASTM A1035-CS Corrosion Resistant and High Strength Reinforcement in the New Nice Middleton Bridge Project for Sustainable Bridge Construction
Hans Geber, Commercial Metals Company, Cayce, SC

ASTM A1035-CS reinforcing steel used in the New Nice Middleton Bridge Project is not only corrosion-resistant but also high strength. The A1035-CS reinforcement is shown to have a positive effect on carbon footprint and global warming potential. Examples of use within bridge elements include utilizing reinforcement for flexural and shear applications. The use of A1035 reinforcement can be applied to various structural components of a bridge, including super- and sub-structural elements, including but not limited to, end zone design and detailing of post-tensioned members, pier cap design, and the design of cast-in-place bridge decks. When a bridge deck is designed using the strip method, it can be shown that the bar high strength considerably allows for a significant reduction of steel quantities and concrete cover. The usage of A1035 also allows for increased durability of the bridge deck due to its high corrosion resistance, thus increasing the service life of the bridge. Another application found to be suitable with ASTM A1035 steel is to use it in the negative moment zones bridges made continuous for live loading. With the use of A1035 bars, bar congestion is greatly reduced in critical area of the deck and girders.

IBC 23-03: How Geophysics Contributes to Rebuilding the U.S. Infrastructure: A Case Study Involving Seismic Tomography
Siavash Mahvelati, Vibra-Tech Engineers, Hazleton, PA; Douglas Rudenko, PG, Vibra-Tech Engineers, Hazleton, PA; Stephen Munoz, Vibra-Tech Engineers, Hazleton, PA; Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero, American Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc., Canonsburg, PA; Scott Kelley, Erdman Anthony, Mechanicsburg, PA

PennDOT plans to replace the superstructure of the SR75 Market Street Bridge in Port Royal. A seismic tomography survey, which measures the compressional-wave velocity, revealed four low velocity zones in the bridge abutments. Confirmation drilling encountered zones of honeycombed concrete at depths that agreed with tomography results. Laboratory testing revealed that despite having low velocities, these zones have compressive strengths exceeding 5,000 psi making it possible to reuse the existing abutment for the new superstructure.

IBC 23-04: Seismic Isolation for Achieving Functionality of Critical Bridge Structures
Anoop Mokha, S.E., Earthquake Protection Systems, Vallejo, CA; Victor Zayas, Earthquake Protection Systems, Vallejo, CA; Stanley Low, Earthquake Protection Systems, Vallejo, CA

Functionality is an important consideration while designing critical bridge structures in earthquake prone regions of the world. This is necessary for minimizing post-earthquake disruption to society. Major earthquakes that have occurred every year in the world are a constant reminder that critical structures must remain operational post-earthquake, so that community needs are met. Bridges classified as lifeline structures also need to remain functional so that rescue and recovery operations can be performed.

Code provisions (ductility based) for seismic design of structures all over the world have focused primarily on achieving “Collapse Prevention” or “Life Safety” within acceptable limits, at the expense of inflicting damage to structural, non-structural, architectural elements, and contents.

After a major earthquake this results in loss of use and function, as observed in recent Japan, New Zealand and Chile earthquakes. One of the approach to achieve functionality is through continued functionality design objectives for minimizing damage in structures by absorbing seismic displacement in isolation bearings, maintaining an elastic structure, and minimizing in-structure accelerations and drifts.

Bridges designed and built to current AASHTO minimum design requirements to provide “life safety” using a ductile design approach will not provide a resilient, sustainable, and functioning bridge. A ductile design approach has resulted in costly post-earthquake damage that has been disruptive to roadway systems. Decisions made forty years ago in formulating a ductile design approach to achieve “life safety” are reviewed in light of seismic isolation designs for “continued functionality” criteria. Seismic design methodology and criteria are presented for increasing reliably.

IBC 23-05: Il De Re Testing & Instrumentation
Stephen Schorn, Sixense, Inc., Reston, VA; Stephen Joye, Sixense Monitoring, Nanterre France

The Ile de Re viaduct located in France was built in 1988 and has 29 spans over 2930m in total length. It has 218 external post-tensioned cables to support the bridge. In 2018 one of the external cables suddenly failed and was identified to have broken about 1 meter from the anchorage head. Sixense has inspected 85 anchorages using ultrasonic testing to assess their condition and support future rehabilitation efforts on the bridge. It was decided to also install about 280 acoustic sensors to monitor the bridge (for the first third so far) . This presentation would detail the UScan tests and results, as well as the SHMS installed on the bridge.

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Rehab/Maintenance, Part 1

Time: 1:30-4:30 PM
Room: Annapolis 1/2/3

Session Chair: Annette Adams, P.E., Virginia DOT

IBC 23-06: Rehabilitation of a 1930’s Steel Crescent Truss Arch
Nicholas Cervo, P.E., HDR, Pittsburgh, PA; Eric Liebmann, P.E., HDR, Pittsburgh, PA

The Jerome Street Bridge was built in 1937 and has a 455’ steel crescent truss arch main span with a “floorbeam-stringer-grid deck” floor system, that spans over the Youghiogheny River in McKeesport, PA. Due to over 80 years of deterioration, the structure (main span and approach spans) required an extensive rehabilitation that included phased redecking, steel repairs, bearing and expansion joint replacement, floor system member replacements, a new polyester polymer concrete overlay, and painting.

IBC 23-07: Hidden Lake Bridge Restoration
Robert Hong, P.E., S.E., Lochner; Andy Lohan, P.E., S.E., Lochner, Chicago, IL

Hidden Lake Bridge is a 50-foot-long historic cast and wrought iron bowstring pony truss that spans over the East Branch DuPage River in Hidden Lake Forest Preserve in DuPage County, Illinois. The precise age of the structure is unknown, however it can be identified as a bridge constructed by the King Iron Bridge Company which dates from the 1870’s. Cast and wrought iron bowstring truss bridges are among the nation’s oldest surviving metal bridges and are also among the rarest types of historic bridge in the country. Each surviving bridge is an essential part of our nation’s transportation heritage and should receive the highest preservation priority. Built during a period of experimentation, these bridges display unusual construction details that were often the patented designs of the company that built them.
The existing bridge was in critical condition with severe section loss and its load path had been modified by the addition of a center pier. The challenge with this project was to economically preserve this historic bridge and restore it as a working bowstring pony truss capable of carrying pedestrians and maintenance vehicles. The design team first researched the history of the existing bridge construction and materials.
Next, they performed structural analysis to determine where strengthening was required and developed unique details to recreate or strengthen existing structural elements while consulting closely with historic bridge preservationists. This balanced approach allows this historically significant bridge to continue to serve the Chicago region for many years to come!

IBC 23-08: Innovative Project Delivery Methods and Technical Solutions on the Emergency Repairs of the Roosevelt Bridge
Eric Sommer, P.E., Structural Technologies, Fort Worth, TX

When the Florida Department of Transportation closed portions of the Roosevelt Bridge to address emergent repair needs identified during a routine inspection, it had to quickly identify a collaborative and efficient process to ensure rapid restoration of the mobility for pedestrians, vehicles, vessels and rail. The two parallel 4,600’ long precast post-tensioned segmental 41 span bridges (41 spans each) were constructed in balanced cantilever. Cracking had been discovered in the bottom slab of Southbound Span 1 over Dixie Highway. The technical difficulty of the work combined with the importance of restoring traffic to downtown Stuart, FL and minimizing the duration of a 20+ mile detour for a major state highway led FDOT, for the first time in their history, to select the CMGC (Construction Manager/General Contractor) method of project delivery. This contracting method leverages early contractor involvement to provide assistance with design and repair methods, expediting project completion and reopening of the structure. Major elements of the work included emergency structural evaluation, the final design and construction repairs, and incorporation of strengthening and long-term preservation systems, all on a streamlined schedule. An innovative strengthening solution was implemented involving installation of flexible filled external multi-strand post-tension tendons inside the box to replace the failed and corroded existing tendons. The project restored traffic to full capacity within 130 days and made additional improvements to enhance future reliability through preventative maintenance and hardening measures. These measures will serve to extend the functional life of the bridge while maintaining its original, appealing aesthetic.

IBC 23-09: Comprehensive Restoration of a Century Old Suspension Bridge (Wurts Street Bridge over the Rondout Creek, Kingston, NY)
Sean Casey, P.E., Modjeski and Masters, Poughkeepsie, NY ; Blaise Blabac, Modjeski and Masters, Poughkeepsie, NY

This paper will focus on the restoration of a historic suspension bridge with numerous repairs including a supplemental main cable anchorage, suspender replacement, and link replacement. Sequencing the deck replacement operation required careful consideration of dead load removal to control stresses in the stiffening truss and stability of the suspension system. Upgrades to the structure include anchorage dehumidification, decorative lighting, ADA compliance, inspection access and railing systems.

IBC 23-10: PA Turnpike Bridge Milepost A098.11 (I-476 over Lehigh River) – Tie-Plate Crack Investigation and Emergency Repairs
Bradley Degnan, P.E., TranSystems, Morristown, NJ; Margaret Sherman, P.E., TranSystems, Philadelphia, PA; James Hibbs, P.E., Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Middeltown, PA

Built in 1955 and rehabilitated in 1989, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Bridge NB-635 at Milepost A098.11, carrying I-476 (the Northeast Extension) over the Lehigh River, is a steel two-girder bridge with floorbeam overhangs attached over the girders with tie-plates. These tie-plates are in tension and considered fracture critical members. For over 10 years there has been a known crack in the West Girder tie-plate at the North Abutment end floorbeam. During the September 2021 routine inspection, the crack was noted to have propagated beyond the first rivet. The tie-plate was subsequently scheduled for monthly special inspections through the winter to monitor for further crack propagation while repairs were designed and mobilized.

While performing a monthly special inspection, the inspection team discovered a previously unidentified crack at a similar tie-plate connection in the East Girder. Additional inspections were then conducted at the South Abutment floorbeams, and the remainder of the structure, where three additional cracked tie-plates at the East Girder at the piers were discovered, leading to temporary lane restrictions on the bridge. Unlike the cracks observed at the North Abutment, the cracks encountered at the piers were almost fully propagated thru the tie-plate width. A team of engineers and contractors were immediately mobilized to design, fabricate, and install tie plate retrofits. The emergency retrofits, consisting of rivet removal and installation of supplemental plates, were performed over the course of four days, and the lane restrictions were removed within a week of finding cracked tie-plates at the piers.

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W01: International Workshop

Time: 1:30-5:00 PM
Room: Baltimore 1


W02: A Discussion of Ethics in Engineering Using Case Studies

Time: 1:30-2:30 PM
Room: Baltimore 2

Robin A. Kemper, P.E., LEED AP, ENV SP, F.SEI, Pres.19.ASCE, Zurich Resilience Solutions, Lawrenceville, NJ


  • Instill a basic understanding of engineering ethics
  • Inspire confidence in using tools to make ethical decisions
  • Appreciate real life applications of the tools


  • Introduction
  • What are (is?) “Ethics”?
  • ASCE Code of Ethics
  • Help in Making Ethical Decisions
  • Questions
  • Case Studies
  • Questions