Bridge Design and Inspection

Bridge Design & Replacement

SR 2006, A01 Over Mackey Run, Centre County

In 2010, SSE delivered the final plans and specifications for the SR 2006 over Mackey Run bridge replacement project to PennDOT Engineering District 2-0 one full year ahead of schedule.  SSE’s management of this project permitted this project to be bid for construction in 2010, instead of 2011.  Additionally, SSE completed the design of the project under the original project budget, and ensured that the construction cost equaled the preliminary estimate developed two years earlier.


On this project, SSE realigned the streambed and relocated the bridge, and managed and/or performed all aspects of the Transportation Development Process, including: Archaeology, Historic Resources, Stream Relocation, Public Involvement, Utility Coordination and Relocation, Alternative Studies, 4(f) Resources, Agricultural Resources, 2-D Hydraulic Analysis, and Traffic Calming MeasuresSSE facilitated ten well attended, highly publicized public meetings and obtained public input in the development of alternatives. SSE’s design performance is reflected in the PennDOT evaluation:

“SSE excelled on the completion of Part 2 of this agreement, accelerating the controversial project resulting in letting the project nearly one year ahead of the originally scheduled let date. SSE performed very well at facilitating the public workshops meeting the needs of the Department as well as other project stakeholder. SSE was very responsive to the project’s needs, often times meeting with residents or design team members on very short notice. Jeff Sheaffer and Aaron Fayish performed very well at both the technical end of the design and facilitating the public’s needs into the project. It was a pleasure working with SSE on this project.”

Midway Borough, Washington County, PA

Project manager for a superstructure replacement for the North Avenue Over Robinson Run bridge.  Project involved survey, hydraulic analysis, E&S, DEP Permitting, roadway and structure design, and construction inspection.  Project completed for the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Washington with limited funding.

SR 4002 Superstructure over Little Sandy Run, Snowshoe Township, Centre County

Stahl Sheaffer Engineering served as project manager for the design and approval of this superstructure replacement. This involved coordinating with PennDOT HOP, Bridge Unit, Design Squad, Materials and Testing Division, APRAS, Independent Shop Inspectors, DEP GP-11, Contractor, and Marcellus Shale Heavy User to upgrade a bridge with a posted weight restriction. SSE managed resources to achieve all approvals and complete construction in 16 weeks.

Bloody Skillet ATV Bridge

In 2011, SSE completed the design of a 150’ long steel truss bridge and a 15’ span precast box culvert for DCNR’s Bloody Skillet ATV trail near Monument, PA.

NBIS Inspections

Snyder County Locally Owned Structures

SSE is performing the NBIS inspection, load rating analyses and report submissions for 30 locally owned structures under an agreement with the Snyder County Commissioners.  SSE has completed the first 2 years of this 5 year agreement and has performed both routine and interim inspections.  Additionally, SSE completed Emergency Flood Inspections of Snyder County structures impacted by the September 2011 Tropical Storm Lee.  The structures included in this contract include both single and multiple spans with superstructures comprised of steel stringers, prestressed beams, timber covered bridges, concrete box culverts, concrete t-beams and concrete slab bridges.

Pennsylvania State University NBIS Inspections

Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, LLC (SSE) completed routine inspections since 2008 for University steam tunnels crossing beneath PennDOT right of way on the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University beneath Park Avenue, North Atherton Street, and University Avenue.  These structures are precast, post tensioned concrete box culverts that carry University utilities beneath State Traffic Routes that bisect the University Campus.  Utilities include steam lines, chiller lines, electrical conduit, and fiber optic cable.  Access to the culverts is through closed manholes at each end of the culvert, outside PennDOT right of way.  Because of this configuration, these inspections included confined space entry, an area in which SSE has 5 certified inspectors.  SSE contracted with Pennsylvania State University to provide confined space environmental atmospheric monitoring and supervision; so that SSE confined space trained inspectors can safely access the culverts to perform typical NBIS inspection efforts.

SSE prioritizes maintenance recommendations and notifies the University of immediate maintenance repairs as they are identified in the field.  If warranted, and approved by the University, SSE completes load rating analysis using field documented section properties.

SSE performs coordination with PennDOT Engineering District 2-0 to assign structure numbers to newly constructed facilities owned by the University that cross PennDOT’s right of way.  SSE sends copies of the reports to District 2-0 for approval and record keeping purposes.  SSE also completes all pertinent information on PennDOT’s electronic BMS-2 system and uses the i-forms when required by the Department.SSE has completed three biennial cycles of this contract.

Pennsylvania State University Steam Vaults

Stahl Sheaffer Engineering has performed steam vault and tunnel inspections and rehabilitations for the Pennsylvania State University Steam Services at the University Park campus.Through these projects we have developed repair details and specifications to address issues such as:

  • Severe delamination and spalling of tunnel and vault roofs.
  • Severe delamination and spalling of tunnel and vault walls, particularly around the steam line penetrations.

These conditions are due in large part to the constant exposure of the reinforced concrete to the extremely warm, moist environment.  Other factors compounding the deterioration include adjacent heavy vehicular traffic, de-icing treatments of adjacent roadways and overlying sidewalks, original construction using uncoated reinforcement bars, and quality of initial construction.

SSE understands that work within steam tunnels must address feasible repair options and construction methods, steam service constraints, worker safety issues relative to the steam lines, and impacts to above ground features.

SSE has developed schemes for tunnel and vault roof rehabilitations that include using precast plank beams and partial depth concrete spall repairs.  Plank beams were designed for the effects of maintenance and emergency services vehicles utilizing the sidewalk, and vehicular traffic for locations under roadways.  Details included coating the plank beams and existing top with waterproofing, and placement of a free-draining aggregate over the tunnels and vaults. For vault wall and ceiling spall repairs, SSE rehabilitated spalls exposing reinforcement bars that exhibit varying amounts of section loss.  Spall repair details were developed that involved removal of deteriorated concrete to a limit behind the reinforcement bars, cleaning and coating the reinforcement bars, placement of additional reinforcement bars and dowels as necessary, and placement of an epoxy or cementitious repair material.

SSE has worked with steam service carried through tunnels and vaults that were main lines that serves an uncommonly large student population.  The service is needed 24 hours a day, year round.  Allowable shut down time was minimal, on the order of 2 or 3 days maximum.  The maximum allowable shut down time included the time necessary to take the line off system, as well as to bring the line back on system.  While the line was off, valve repair and or replacement was also undertaken.

The steam lines in the tunnels and vaults are extremely hot and the tunnels and vaults are considered confined spaces in accordance with OSHA regulations. Working within the vault required special considerations and presented inherent difficulties.  SSE developed options for reducing the difficulties.  One option that was developed involved filling the vault with an aggregate, such as sand or ‘cracker dust’ to protect the steam line and valves, as well as to isolate the worker from the dangers of the excessive temperatures. Upon filling the vault, the contractor removed the vault roof without the need of shoring to protect the steam line and valves, and completed roof replacement operations in a safe environment. This provided an added degree of safety for the general public, in addition to fencing around the project site, should someone errantly enter the work limits. The aggregate was then removed from the vault using commercial suction equipment. Any wall spall repairs were completed either prior to, or upon the removal of, the aggregate.

SSE also prepared all UCC Permit Determination Forms and L&I Level 2 Permit Plan Sheets.

Project Bridge_Bloody Skillet Project Bridge_Mackey Run