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Beaver Brook Bridge

Beaver Brook Road Bridge Replacement to receive ACEC/MA Award

Beaver Brook Bridge

Beaver Brook Road Bridge Replacement to receive ACEC/MA Award

Beaver Brook Road Bridge Replacement to receive ACEC/MA Award

The Beaver Brook Road Bridge Replacement project was a crucial transportation infrastructure project for the Town of Westford. TEC’s involvement in the project began in 2016 when the Town put together a Request for Proposals for the replacement of the existing structure. The Town had been monitoring the structural deficiencies and areas of 100% section loss within the pipe.

Early in the process, the Town and TEC knew there would be complex and unique challenges associated with the project. The bridge is located about 900 feet downstream from Forge Pond, resulting in a significant amount of water that flows through this section of Beaver Brook and a significant bankfull width. The Massachusetts Stream Crossing standards indicate that stream crossing projects should provide a span equal to 1.2 times the bankfull width. Therefore, a 58-foot bridge span would be required to meet that standard at this location, which would lead to significant right-of-way and wetland resource area impacts as well as property takings. TEC prepared a maximum extent practical analysis that presented a more modest “middle ground” solution. This 35-foot proposed clear span presented a significant increase for wildlife and flow passage while also preserving the character of the area and providing a context sensitive solution.

The existing roadway was too narrow to construct the bridge without significant realignment and resource area impacts, therefore a full closure of the road was necessary. To reduce the duration of the detour, TEC utilized Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) techniques for the design of the structure. TEC recommended that the project be executed around two construction seasons to allow for the relocation of the overhead utilities to take place prior to full Contractor mobilization. This offseason relocation allowed the Contractor to hit the ground running in the spring of 2023 and complete miscellaneous tasks prior to closing the road the day after school let out for the summer. Approach roadway construction followed just after and temporary pavement was placed, allowing the road to open to two-way traffic on August 18, well ahead of schedule and ahead of the first day of school. And, due to the foresight and planning by TEC, the Town, MassDOT and the Contractor, the final tasks (bridge rail installation, final paving, removal of sheets and boat ramp grading and installation) were easily completed using single lane shutdowns and police details.

Given the importance of the resource areas to the local environment and the importance of the area for recreation, it was critical that TEC’s design minimized impacts and carefully considered open space opportunities. Wetland impacts could not be permanently avoided altogether due to the introduction of the sidewalk on the north side of the bridge. To offset these impacts, the design had to provide a 250 square foot area of wetland replication within the vicinity. This project represented the first instance of wetland replication on a project using the newly published Landscape and Wetland Design Special Provisions. TEC worked collaboratively with MassDOT to properly specify the proposed soil and plant species and worked with MassDOT on the refinement of the standard specifications. The alterations made during this project will be utilized on all MassDOT projects moving forward.

This project is a great example of innovation, sustainable considerations, thoughtful design, and strong communication among all stakeholders. We are proud that the Beaver Brook Road Bridge Replacement project will be a recipient of a bronze award at the upcoming ACEC/MA Engineering Excellence and Awards Gala on March 28, 2024. Congratulations to the project team and the Town of Westford!

Andover, MA
Hampton, NH
Worcester, MA

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