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The first row of modular concrete stem pieces is laid out before the next layer is stacked on top to form the bridge abutments.

The first row of modular concrete stem pieces is laid out before the next layer is stacked on top to form the bridge abutments.

From smaller projects to the largest, MassDOT uses the latest, proven innovative techniques. For the first time in the state, MassDOT is using precast, modular concrete abutments on the Route 2/I-95 Bridge Replacement Project.

Accelerated Bridge Construction technologies, such as this one, reduce project duration significantly by shifting construction of some elements off-site. This also saves money and limits traffic impacts and road closures.

The precast abutments are used in the new Route 2 bridges over I-95 in Lexington. The abutments support the bridge spans at each end. A pier located in the I-95 median supports the middle of the bridge. The abutments are made of multiple layers of modular pieces in a “T” shape, with the “T’s” laid flat and stacked one on top of the other. The precast pieces were made by Oldcastle Precast of Rehoboth and shipped to the project site for assembly.

Another view of the “T” shaped concrete stems, showing the crushed stone backfill used for added support and stability.

Another view of the “T” shaped concrete stems, showing the crushed stone backfill used for added support and stability.

Each abutment has multiple stems, the long legs of the T’s which rest one on top of the other that carry the weight of the bridge (from vehicles, the bridge itself, snow/ice, etc.) down to the concrete footing. The space between the stems is filled with crushed stone to provide additional support and stability. By using the precast abutment pieces, MassDOT avoids the drilling and excavating used for the more traditional drilled shaft type of abutment foundation, saving the project time and reducing construction impacts. Additionally, the use of precast concrete and crushed stone backfill allowed for construction during winter months when pouring concrete would have been much more difficult.

Other innovative techniques employed on the project include intelligent compaction for the roadway base and pavement and “greening measures” to protect the surrounding environment. MassDOT’s use of innovative technologies cuts the budget without cutting corners.

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