Bridge Design

Civil engineering is all about infrastructure, and today, infrastructure is all about the environment. New bridges serving new rights-of-way are rare, so bridge design services are generally involved with replacing existing bridges with new, modern, safer structures or rehabilitating existing bridges in order to extend their useful lives, address new load standards, add vehicle or bicycle lanes, and provide pedestrian walkways. Many of these existing bridges were built 50 or more years ago, at an entirely different era with respect to protection of the natural environment. Today, bridge design requires expertise in hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, flood plain and wetlands management, riparian/tidelands regulations, stream scour countermeasures, and other complex environmental considerations, in conjunction with design of the associated bridge foundations, substructures and superstructures, MSE (mechanically stabilized earth) and reinforced concrete retaining walls, and bridge pier fender systems. Permitting to rehabilitate an existing bridge can be nearly as complex as permitting to replace the bridge, even though the construction costs can differ by an order of magnitude or more.

In the case of a serious bridge failure, the time it can take to restore access is often critical. Churchill provides all of the necessary services in-house to design and permit a bridge replacement, including underwater inspection, hydrographic surveying, land surveying, geotechnical engineering, detailed structural design, and complete permitting services. And because we are regularly designing new bridges as upgrades to existing bridges, we can quickly prepare the needed studies and reports to determine the most cost-effective bridge type to address a client’s long-term infrastructure objectives.

Our bridge design capabilities are further enhanced by our extensive experience with bridge inspection. We have inspected and evaluated more than 2,000 bridges owned by NJDOT, NJTA, NJ Transit, and numerous counties and municipalities. Because our Structural Department is responsible for both bridge design and bridge inspection, our bridge design teams regularly prepare reports identfying the critical areas that contribute to shortened infrastructure life and increased maintenance costs. This experience is clearly reflected in our bridge designs, and directly benefits the clients that engage our bridge design services.