Woodard & Curran Receives ACEC ME Honor Award for Engineering Excellence for Sustainable Design Consideration

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine (ACEC ME) presented Woodard & Curran with the Honor Award for Engineering Excellence for Sustainable Design Consideration for the Carrying Place Bridge Replacement project in Vinalhaven, Maine.

Woodard & Curran designed, permitted, and performed construction administration for the replacement of Carrying Place Bridge, which is the sole span connecting Calderwood Neck to the rest of Vinalhaven, a town and island 12 miles off the coast of Rockland in Penobscot Bay.

The major quandary in replacing Carrying Place Bridge was reconciling the client’s time and budgetary restraints with other priority concerns: resiliency and aesthetics. Deficiencies in the existing structure meant the town needed to act quickly to replace it or risk having to post or close the crossing — critical infrastructure connecting Calderwood Neck with the rest of the Vinalhaven, where stores, services, amenities, emergency services, and the ferry terminal are located.

In addition to needing a replacement structure to maintain access between Calderwood Neck and the rest of the island, the Town sought a solution that incorporated resiliency measures. Like many islands along the Maine coast, Vinalhaven is vulnerable to sea level rise. The client also requested granite blocks from the existing abutment be integrated into the design to maintain the aesthetics of the crossing.

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Woodard & Curran designed and implemented a unique and effective solution to restore aging and critical infrastructure on the island of Vinalhaven. The project team’s creative approach to the problem resulted in a finished project that meets the functional, resiliency, and capital needs of our community.

Andrew Dorr Vinalhaven Town Manager

The entrant engaged an unusual project approach, centering outcomes instead of the expected end product. This creative and collaborative process allowed the project team to provide the client with a budget-friendly solution that achieves the Town’s infrastructural, financial, environmental, and cultural priorities.

Following this approach, the entrant applied existing technology, a precast concrete culvert, in a unique way to solve the multifaceted problem at hand. The precast culvert’s relative ease of installation meant a reduction of the project’s impact on the surrounding natural resources. The new crossing did not require an expanded footprint and its ease of installation minimized short term impacts to the tidal zone and optimized work crews’ opportunities to work in the dry. The result is a functional crossing, accomplished with reduced impact to the natural surroundings, at a lower cost than larger alternatives, and without land acquisition or creation of easements on private property.

The new bridge is a three-sided, pre-cast concrete structure with a span of 19 feet. The deck profile has been raised to an elevation of 14 feet NAVD88 to reduce vulnerability to storm surge and wave events. The crossing roadway was modified to a single-lane, two-way road with associated alternating traffic signage to improve function and safety. In addition to structural considerations, Woodard & Curran incorporated the reuse of the granite blocks from the existing abutments to preserve the visual character of the crossing.

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