The Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project was recently named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Transportation greater than $75 million category. This award honors agencies who have included roads, bridges, and mass transit in their project.

For 2016, the team of winners includes Massachusetts Department of Transportation as the managing agency; The Middlesex Corporation, as the primary contractor; and Stantec as the primary consultant, who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX Conference Awards Ceremony in Minneapolis, MN during August 28-31, 2016.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories in the Small Cities/Rural Communities area: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.

The Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement featured challenges on multiple fronts. The previous, nearly century-old structure was a multi-span concrete deck arch. The bridge was an appreciated part of the landscape, but it was narrow, deteriorating and needed replacement. The two new structures (two separate bridges carrying eastbound and westbound traffic) reflect the old bridge’s grace, but with a modern updating of sweeping, sleek steel box deck arches in place of the old bridge’s concrete framing.

The project was procured via the design-build project delivery method, with a tight construction schedule. The complex construction staging required maintenance of traffic on the key Route 9 connection between Shrewsbury and Worcester while the new bridge was built around it.

American Public Works Association (APWA)

The finished bridge is quickly assuming a role of infrastructure icon for Worcester and Shrewsbury. Stantec used extensive 3D modelling, visualization and animation to detail the railings, approach structures, position of post-tensioning, proportioning of details, and overall guidance of project development. The bridge features designated bike lanes and oversized sidewalks with overlook viewing areas at each pier cantilevering out above the lake, with kiosks detailing local historical information, and seating. Architectural steel “sail” sculptures are placed at the bridge’s four corners, reflecting the lake’s traditional use for recreational boating and crew regattas. At night, the sail and superstructure are illuminated by a programmable color changing lighting system.

In order to accommodate the flat roadway profile, the design features a continuous five-span low rise arch system, consistent with a lengthy public review process. The unique post-tensioning system carries six million pounds of thrust-resisting tension tie force on the full length of the bridge.

To reduce impacts in the lake, the perched pier pile cap foundation system was constructed. This foundation system minimized the amount of piles required for construction and also allowed the caps to be constructed without the need for sheet pile cofferdams. Designers created a three-dimensional finite element structural analysis model to analyze the proposed step-by-step construction staging sequence, and other critical elements of the superstructure. The staged construction model closely matched construction steps as built, at a level of detail unusual for a bridge project.

For more information on the APWA 2016 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.

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