Bronx’s Unionport Bridge project gets First Hydraulically Driven Temporary Lift Bridges in the U.S.

May 22, 2020

Detour bridges will mitigate traffic disruption and allow for continual access to boat traffic on Westchester Creek

Acrow Bridge has announced two of its temporary modular steel lift bridges are being used to allow uninterrupted vehicular and vessel passage during the replacement of the 65-year-old Unionport Bridge over Westchester Creek in the Bronx, New York. While temporary bridges have aided many projects nationwide, Acrow’s bridges are carrying eastbound and westbound traffic on Bruckner Boulevard and are the first hydraulically driven temporary lift bridges in the U.S.

The Unionport Bridge is heavily traveled with an approximate average daily traffic of 50,000-60,000 vehicles and is the only link between the Bruckner Expressway and Cross Bronx Expressway to the Hutchinson River Parkway and destinations north. The bridge had deteriorated and was deemed structurally deficient and in dire need of replacement. The detour lift bridges were a value engineering proposal by Unionport Constructors JV, owners of the bridge replacement project. The proposal allowed them to shorten the duration of the project, maintain seamless traffic throughout construction, and build the new bascule bridge all at one time instead of using a phased construction approach.

The detour bridges are expected to be in service for two years and will vary in dimensions. The north lift bridge is 24 ft wide with 60-ft and 100-ft approaches and a 66-ft lift span. The south bridge, which is 30 ft wide, has 80 ft and 100 ft approaches with a lift span of 90 ft, as well as a 5-ft walkway off the south side of the entire 210 ft length. The project bid took place in 2017 and Acrow started the design of the lift bridges in spring 2018. The north lift bridge was commissioned in October 2019 and the south lift bridge in December 2019.

Along with Unionport Constructors JV, Hardesty and Hanover designed the overall project with the JV’s guidance.

“Although there were challenges with the project that made it technically difficult during the installation stage such as an extremely congested construction site and a very small build area, we were able to successfully build, install, test and get the structures completely operational in a short period of time,” said Bob Rose of Acrow. “As a full-service package, [we] designed, supplied, and supervised installation of all the bridge components, all the electrical and mechanical, towers, crossheads, access platforms, walkways, control house platform, and maintenance walkways.”

Work is ongoing despite COVID-19 restrictions, with safety measures in place.