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Gilmerton Bridge Wins ACEC Virginia's Top Prize

Henry G. Gilmerton Bridge
ACEC/VA honored the Gilmerton Bridge with the organization's 2015 Pinnacle Award.
(Richmond, Va.) The $140 million Henry G. Gilmerton Bridge replacement project in Chesapeake, Virginia, received the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia’s (ACEC Virginia) 2015 Pinnacle Award. A part of ACEC Virginia’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards program, the Pinnacle Award is the highest honor presented by the council. The project also won a 2015 Grand Award. Gannett Fleming served as a major subconsultant on the project.

The Engineering Excellence Awards recognize engineering firms for projects that demonstrate innovation, complexity, achievement, and value to the industry.

“The Pinnacle Award is among the highest honors an engineering project can receive, and we’re proud to have been a part of this winning team,” said Larry Moore, Gannett Fleming’s transportation program manager and project manager for the Gilmerton Bridge. “The Gilmerton Bridge is an engineering achievement that will serve the surrounding community for years to come.”

The bridge is located in a high-traffic-volume section of Hampton Roads, Virginia, and is a critical crossing for both vehicular and marine traffic. In recent years, the bridge had become a bottleneck for both modes of traffic because of deterioration, an insufficient number of travel lanes, and low water clearance.

Construction on the Gilmerton Bridge project began in November 2009. The 18-span bridge extends 1,908 feet over the South Branch of the Elizabeth River, a major waterway in Hampton Roads. With a vertical clearance of 35 feet in the closed position and as high as 135 feet when the span is opened, the bridge was designed to provide taller clearance for ships. The previous bridge was a double-leaf bascule bridge constructed in 1938.

Working with the prime engineer, Modjeski and Masters, Gannett Fleming provided engineering services to VDOT for the replacement of the fixed bridge approach spans and roadway approaches to the movable bridge span over the river. Led by Moore and Jason Wieszek, PE, project manager for the construction administration, Gannett Fleming developed conceptual studies, preliminary and final roadway design plans, preliminary bridge plans, and estimates; participated in public meetings; and prepared right-of-way and construction plans.

The firm also worked closely with Modjeski and Masters to design the bridge and approach geometry.

The project reduced the number of bridge openings for marine traffic by 40 percent, relieving both road and marine traffic congestion. By utilizing Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques, the project team was able to expedite construction and minimize impacts to existing traffic.

The largest engineering firm association in the state, ACEC Virginia is made up of more than 85 independent engineering firms representing more than 4,000 employees.

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