Company:
City of Newport Beach
Status:
Awarded
Awarded:
Construction Project of the Year
Additional Files

Additional Information

Park Avenue Bridge over Grand Canal

Project Location:

Newport Beach, California

Project Description:

The 110-foot long Park Avenue Bridge over Grand Canal is the sole bridge providing access to Little Balboa Island in the City of Newport Beach.  After nearly 90 years of service, the City determined that replacement of the bridge was necessary.  The new widened structure enabled traffic lanes to be widened by one foot, sidewalks by an additional two feet. The structure was also restored to a more architecturally pleasing look that had been lost through years of repair and rehabilitation.  The replacement project was an opportunity to provide pedestrians a combination of stair access and ADA-compliant ramps at all four corners of the bridge to facilitate direct access to and from Little Balboa Island.  The design of the bridge superstructure is on the cutting edge of pre-cast concrete girder design in a highly seismic setting.  The new bridge enhances public safety for all modes of transit, and improves vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian access.  The bridge reduced the number of pier bents in Grand Canal from 3 to 2, which increased under-bridge canal navigation clearances and reduced the constructed footprint in the environmentally sensitive Eel Grass habitat areas.

The City and Michael Baker International developed forward-thinking, context-sensitive bridge replacement strategies in close coordination with neighborhood residents to construct a new bridge that meets current engineering standards, accommodates all modes of transportation, and visually enhances both communities.  The main elements of the project included: erecting a temporary bridge at Balboa Street to maintain unimpeded access to Little Balboa Island throughout the construction process, demolishing the existing Park Avenue Bridge, constructing the new bridge, and finally removing the temporary bridge at Balboa Avenue.

Project Justification:

Since its construction in 1928, the Park Avenue Bridge over Grand Canal has been the single, vital connection between Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island in the City of Newport Beach.  As the binding link between the two communities, neighborhood residents fondly refer to it as “their bridge”.  As such, the project team knew that it would be paramount to work closely with both communities in explaining why the bridge must be replaced, what the bridge was to become, and exactly how it would be constructed.

Being nearly 90 years old, the Park Avenue Bridge did not meet current bridge design and seismic safety standards.  The City had identified structural deficiencies, including severely deteriorated concrete girders, pile caps, and piles.  As part of its bi-annual bridge inspection program, Caltrans classified the Park Avenue Bridge as functionally obsolete and included it in the Federal Highway Bridge Program (HBP) for rehabilitation or replacement.  Upon the HBP listing, Caltrans and City engineers reviewed the available work options and ultimately determined that it would be more cost effective and functional to replace the bridge.  At this stage, the City initiated what would become a long and successful dialogue with the communities on the replacement of “their bridge.”  With everyone on board with the bridge replacement, it was time to begin the design, together.

The City and Michael Baker International began a series of public outreach meetings to present potential bridge replacement options and obtain community feedback on every element of the bridge, including aesthetics, lighting, sidewalks, ramps and bridge rail design.  In some cases, the meetings were held in residents’ homes adding an even higher level of intimacy and community buy-in.  Ultimately, ideas were shared and revisions made that yielded a consensus on the character of the bridge to be designed.

With a sharp vision of the new bridge established, it was now up to the City and Michael Baker International to make the bridge a reality.  The project team orchestrated the final design on three fronts: community concerns, environmental considerations, and engineering challenges.  At the core of each, project constructability would be a critical element.

Community Concerns: The final design phase would again involve close coordination with neighborhood residents.  Construction operations for the bridge replacement would literally be taking place in the front yards and driveways of adjacent residents, so constructability issues were critically evaluated throughout the final design process.  Through direct dialogue with the residents, construction concerns were identified and included maintenance of traffic, emergency response times, noise, vibration, resident access, and duration of construction.  One by one, the community concerns were tackled, as follows:
• Maintenance of Traffic and Emergency Response Times:  Early in the process, the project team decided that a temporary steel truss bridge would be designed for unimpeded access to Little Balboa Island and minimization of emergency response times.  The temporary bridge profile was specifically designed to ensure that resident access to their driveways and adjacent alleys would not be affected.
• Construction Noise and Vibration:  Residents were particularly concerned about strong construction vibrations that might damage their properties, which were as close as 10-feet to foundation construction activities.  To minimize the amount of noise and vibration due to construction operations, all substructure/foundation work involved drilled piles, in lieu of driven piles.
• Resident Access:  The project’s special provisions clearly instructed the contractor to manage construction and staging zones in a manner that would ensure residents 24/7 access to their homes through all phases of work.
• Duration of Construction: To accelerate construction, pre-cast concrete girders were selected to minimize the amount of time necessary to construct the bridge superstructure.

Environmental Considerations:  The Michael Baker International environmental team expertly ushered the project through the environmental and regulatory permitting phase.  Several key environmental considerations were already addressed through consultation with the community; however, one additional critical environmental consideration was the environmentally-sensitive Eel Grass habitat within the Grand Canal.  The Eel Grass habitat was the single-most important environmental issue that would influence both the design and construction of the project.  Impact minimization of this valued resource was specifically woven into the construction staging concept.  The optimum way to reduce impacts to the Eel Grass habitat was to avoid temporary construction platforms in the Grand Canal.  The project team decided that the new bridge foundations would be constructed through the existing bridge deck, which would serve as the working platform.  Special attention was given to locating the penetrations through the existing bridge deck to ensure that the structural integrity of the bridge was not compromised through the operation.  After the new foundations were constructed, the existing bridge superstructure was removed, and the new superstructure was built upon temporary falsework attached to the new concrete piers.  This approach proved highly successful.

Engineering Challenges: With the community concerns and environmental considerations being effectively managed, the project team set its sights on solving the following engineering challenges:  bridge profile/canal freeboard, uninterrupted utilities, and seawall continuity.
• Bridge Profile / Canal Freeboard:  It was critical that the bridge profile not be raised as this would yield impacts to the homes immediately adjacent to the bridge.  Equally important, the bridge profile could not be lowered because this would negatively impact the canal freeboard and associated navigational clearances.  This presented a significant challenge to the design of the superstructure in a highly seismic setting.  The project team solved this challenge by using a very thin superstructure type comprised of precast concrete girders that were cast monolithically with the pier caps and abutments creating a continuous, multi-span bridge superstructure with superior seismic performance.
• Uninterrupted Utilities:  Carrying a wide array of dry and wet utilities, the Park Avenue Bridge is a critical lifeline for Little Balboa Island and no interruption of service could be tolerated.  The project team worked closely with all utility owners to develop a construction staging approach in which the utilities were temporarily relocated to a utility bridge that spanned the Grand Canal and created the work space necessary for the bridge replacement construction activities.
• Seawall Continuity:  The new bridge abutments were designed to perform three essential functions: to support vertical live and dead loads, to accommodate longitudinal and lateral loads associated with the Maximum Credible Earthquake, and to perform integrally with the seawalls that envelop both Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island.  The abutments were also designed to accommodate a future seawall raising project necessary to address global climate change and rising sea levels.  The project team developed a unique abutment design using a secant pile wall comprised of a series of 39 overlapping cast-in-drilled-hole piles at each abutment.

Given the number of community, environmental, engineering and construction challenges, it is notable how pleased the City and residents are with the bridge delivered.  The opening day parade was a fantastic event, attended by all; a perfect conclusion to a project that required everyone to cohesively work together for a successful outcome.  The communities of Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island were ecstatic to have “their bridge” back.

Special Circumstances:

A highly unique relationship was developed over the life of the project between the City, community residents, the design and environmental team, the construction management team, and the contractor.  The relationship between all parties was based upon continuous communication and mutual respect.  Communication and compromise formed the backbone of this successful project team.

Community concerns, environmental considerations, and engineering challenges were effectively managed throughout the project.

Project Attachments:

See below.

Award Citation::

Since its construction in 1928, the Park Avenue Bridge over Grand Canal has been the single, vital connection between Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island in the City of Newport Beach.  The City and Michael Baker International developed a context-sensitive bridge replacement approach in close coordination with neighborhood residents to construct a new bridge that meets engineering standards, accommodates all modes of transportation, and visually enhances both communities.

Suggested Award Summary:

Since its construction in 1928, the 110-foot long Park Avenue Bridge over Grand Canal had been the single, vital connection between Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island in the City of Newport Beach.  However, the City determined that the bridge must be replaced after structural deficiencies were discovered, including severely deteriorated concrete girders, pile caps, and foundation piles.  As the binding link between the two communities, neighborhood residents fondly considered it to be “their bridge”.  As such, the City knew that it would be paramount to work closely with both communities in explaining why the bridge must be replaced, what the bridge was to become, and exactly how it would be constructed.

The City and Michael Baker International began a series of public outreach meetings to present potential bridge replacement options and obtain community feedback on every element of the bridge, including aesthetics, lighting, sidewalks, ramps and bridge rail design.  Ultimately, ideas were shared and revisions made that yielded a consensus on the character of the bridge to be designed.

With a sharp vision of the new bridge established, the City and Michael Baker International worked to make the bridge a reality.  The project team orchestrated the final design on three fronts: community concerns, environmental considerations, and engineering challenges.  Project highlights on these fronts included:
• Maintenance of Traffic and Emergency Response Times:  The project team decided that a temporary steel truss bridge would be designed for unimpeded access to Little Balboa Island and minimization of emergency response times.  The temporary bridge profile was specifically designed to ensure that residents would continue to have full access to their homes.
• Environmental Protection:  The environmentally-sensitive Eel Grass habitat was the single-most important environmental issue.  Impact minimization of this valued resource was achieved by avoiding temporary construction platforms in the Grand Canal and constructing the new bridge foundations through the existing bridge deck.
• Seawall Continuity:  The new bridge abutments were designed to perform three essential functions: to support vertical bridge loads, to resist longitudinal and lateral seismic loads, and to perform integrally with the seawalls that envelop both Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island.  The abutments were also designed to accommodate a future seawall raising project necessary to address global climate change and rising sea levels.  The project team developed a unique abutment design using a secant pile wall comprised of a series of 39 overlapping cast-in-drilled-hole piles at each abutment.

The Park Ave Bridge Opening Day Parade was a well-attended event and perfect conclusion to a project that required everyone to cohesively work together for a successful outcome.  The communities of Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island were ecstatic to have “their bridge” back.

CEC

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