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Crews pour and smooth a latex modified concrete overlay to repair sections of the Braga Bridge

Crews pour and smooth a latex modified concrete overlay to repair sections of the Braga Bridge

When MassDOT undertakes a bridge and highway restoration project, such as the Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project, it aims to make efficient and long-lasting choices of materials.

Materials are meticulously evaluated and chosen to ensure lower maintenance costs and an improved service life. For the Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project in Fall River, MassDOT chose to repair and replace a portion of the Braga Bridge’s existing hot-mix asphalt roadway surface with latex modified concrete (LMC) for these exact reasons.

Latex modified concrete is special in its ability to resist water, salt, and other damaging materials. These properties are critical considering Massachusetts’ climate, its intensive use of de-icing salts during the winter months, and the 80,000 vehicles that cross the Braga Bridge daily. Conventional concrete, also known as Portland cement concrete (PCC), is more porous and is less resistant to cracks spreading. Although PCC is a great construction material, it has drawbacks when used for thin concrete overlays as was done on the Braga Bridge. It allows more moisture to enter the concrete, which then freezes and expands during the winter, leading to cracks and the breakdown of the roadway surface over time. The latex component of LMC reduces the likelihood that cracks will multiply, reducing maintenance needs and costs during its service life. Additionally, micro-fractures due to truck traffic and other environmental factors are reduced during the life of the bridge deck thanks to LMC.

As of October 14, 2016, all lanes of I-195 East and West along the Braga Bridge are open to traffic. The Braga Bridge’s deck was repaired with latex modified concrete, which will improve the deck’s service life and lower maintenance costs.

As of October 14, 2016, all lanes of I-195 East and West along the Braga Bridge are open to traffic. The Braga Bridge’s deck was repaired with latex modified concrete, which will improve the deck’s service life and lower maintenance costs.

Built in 1965, the Charles M. Braga Jr. Memorial Bridge stretches 5,780 feet across the Taunton River, carrying I-195 east and westbound traffic. Since its construction, the bridge has undergone several rounds of limited repairs, including the partial replacement of the bridge deck’s bituminous concrete overlay with LMC in 2002. Under MassDOT’s Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project, the Braga Bridge received a long needed overhaul using the best available materials and technologies. Materials, such as latex modified concrete, guarantee Fall River’s iconic bridge will withstand wear and tear and the test of time.

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