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Innovative Traffic Management Strategies during Bridge Replacement: Overcoming Constraints and Challenges


A 370m long bridge structure spanning a major provincial highway, a creek and its associated valley lands needed to be replaced. This 100 year old high-level bridge, a key link in the city’s transportation network, connects the city centre with the adjacent residential areas. Considering the critical location of this bridge, traffic and pedestrians flow including access for emergency services needed to be safely maintained at all times, even during its replacement. Additionally, the complex environment and area constraints necessitated the replacement of the bridge at its current location, which posed numerous challenges pertaining to constructability and traffic management during construction. A range of construction sequencing needed to be developed that were efficient and cost effective but allowed for traffic staging.
An assessment of existing tools highlighted deficiencies in the traditional approach and as such an innovative traffic management strategy was required. This paper/presentation focuses on the strategy that was developed using an “out of the box” approach based on the philosophy of “avoid-minimize-mitigate”. As a first step, constructability reviews were undertaken in cooperation with traffic professionals to identify opportunities which would avoid impacts where possible. This included the evaluation of various staging scenarios and construction sequencing strategies. In attempts to minimize traffic disruption, a suite of permissible work zone traffic configurations ranging from multi-day long term lane closures to multi-day full highway closures and a variety of local road closures were developed. Also, an extensive communication plan was prepared in order to minimize and mitigate traffic congestion. The plan included strategies to reduce clutter/traffic congestion, defined detour routes, leverage dynamic ITS messaging, utilize media (press releases, live radio interviews, website posting, etc.). “What if” scenarios were also developed around constraints and unknowns. A contingency plan was developed for safe movement of people and vehicles including emergency services. An incident management plan was prepared to mitigate and respond to impacts in case of any unforeseen incidents.
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This traffic management strategy is a “living” plan allowing for lesson learned during the previous road and highway closures, to be leveraged to refine the strategy prior to implementation of future closures.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Road and Highway Construction - Innovations
Dilwaria, M.
Palomb, N.
Construction, Maintenance and operations