HC Bridge Co. wins engineering award for composite bridge structure

The bridge, in Lockport Township, Ill., benefitted from the company's Hybrid-Composite Beam technology.

On April 28, a Washington, D.C. gala attended by industry leaders, U.S. Congress members, federal agency officials and the media, was held to recognize the accomplishments of private engineering firms. A panel of 25 judges assembled by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) presented HC Bridge Co. LLC (Wilmette, Ill., and Brunswick, Maine), consulting firm Teng & Associates Inc. (Chicago, Ill.) and the Lockport Township Highway Department with an Engineering Excellence Award for their collaborative efforts on the recently installed High Road Bridge. The new structure spans Long Run Creek in Lockport Township, Ill., replacing one of traditional construction that had been declared both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

The new span is the first permanent deployment of HC’s Hybrid-Composite Beam (HCB) Bridge. The superstructure for the 57-ft/17.4m single-span bridge comprises six 42-inch/1,067-mm-deep HCBs on 88-inch/2,235-mm centers, supporting a conventional 8-inch/203-mm-thick reinforced concrete deck. Each HCB has three main subcomponents: a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) shell, a compression reinforcement consisting of concrete that is pumped into an arch conduit within shell, and a tension reinforcement of high-strength steel strands along the bottom flanges of the shell. The encapsulating composite shell protects the beam from salt corrosion, eliminating maintenance, and adds load-bearing capacity. Manufactured by Brunswick, Maine-based Harbor Technologies, the HCBs have one-tenth the mass of comparable precast concrete beams, Despite the use of the innovative framing system, the bridge was constructed exactly the same way as a conventional concrete or steel bridge, preserving the historic aesthetic of the site.