Opening of the Arouca Bridge
For the past 15 years, the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has been systematically widening the Churchill Roosevelt Highway between Barataria and Maloney. The most recent works involved the widening of the eastbound section of the Highway between Golden Grove Intersection and Maloney Intersection. That project was undertaken by the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) Unit and was completed in July 2013. The completion of that project has resulted in three (3) lanes heading east on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway. There are three (3) lanes and shoulders between Barataria and Maloney.
However, there is one location where there are only two (2) lanes on the eastbound section of the Highway. That location is at bridge B1/14 Churchill Roosevelt Highway. This bridge, which crosses the Arouca River, is located just east of the Trincity Intersection. The existing eastbound bridge is only 8m wide and has only two (2) lanes, but has no shoulders.
It is known that there have been many accidents which have occurred close to the eastbound bridge because of the reduction in the number of lanes from three (3) lanes on the highway to two (2) lanes on the bridge. Additionally, the cross-sectional area of the river beneath the eastbound bridge is not adequate to facilitate proper hydraulic flows, and the result is flooding in the Trincity area.
Given the current size of the existing bridges, the PURE Unit, began the work which was necessary to reconstruct and widen these existing bridges.
The PURE Unit commissioned Consultants to carry out geotechnical investigations and topographical surveys at the bridge sites. Based on the results of these investigations, the PURE Unit undertook engineering analysis and design of the proposed new bridge structures in accordance with the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. The PURE Unit also produced all the structural drawings required for construction of the new bridges. In conjunction with NIPDEC, the tender process was undertaken and the contract was awarded.
This project entails the reconstruction of the eastbound bridge, in two (2) phases,
- To accommodate three (3) lanes and shoulders, and widening of the existing westbound bridge
- To accommodate three (3) lanes and an outer shoulder
The reason for constructing the eastbound bridge in two (2) phases is to ensure that there are two (2) lanes open to vehicles at all times during construction.
SCOPE OF WORKS
The new eastbound and westbound bridge structures will consist of the following:-
- The installation of a total of 13No. prestressed concrete AASHTO Type III beams with a reinforced concrete deck slab, run-on-slab and barriers.
- The superstructure will sit on reinforced concrete abutments and wingwalls supported by a total of 144, 400mm square, prestressed concrete piles having a combined length of 1772m.
- There will also be a pedestrian sidewalk on the eastbound bridge.
It is expected that after reconstruction of the existing eastbound bridge and widening of the existing westbound bridge, there will be tremendous benefits, such as:
- Reduced traffic along the eastbound lanes of the CRH in the Trincity area
- Increased motorist and pedestrian safety
- A reduced occurrence of flooding in the Trincity area.