Since 1806, the Northampton Street Bridge has connected Easton, Pa. and Phillipsburg, N.J., across the Delaware River. Many repairs and upgrades have been made over the years and recently upgrading the pedestrian decking became a priority. The upgrades needed to meet safety and performance standards while respecting the historic design of the bridge as it received its National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark designation by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 1995.
The bridge is heavily used and is built with heavy steel trusses, limiting the number of vehicles that can travel the bridge based on total weight. Lightweight and strong materials were required for the update to the sidewalk decks, and Creative Composites Group (CCG) was able to fulfill the need with its fiber reinforced composite panels. The prefabricated sidewalk panels offer water control and deflection as well as unique design features for hatches and lamp post pedestals.
A representative of J.D. Eckman, the project contractor, said, “Many of us were skeptical how the installation and fitment of the panels would go, but we were pleased with how it turned out. For the panel size, it was light and surprisingly rigid, which made for easy handling and placement. And the panels fit very well.”
“Another key thing that led us to CCG is definitely the strength-to-weight ratio,” added a member of the project management team. “The sidewalks are cantilevered off the truss structure. This means we can’t access the facia of the bridge from the roadway; we have to do it from the sidewalks. We use some relatively small equipment that is slightly heavier than pedestrian loads, and if we went with a heavy concrete deck surface, the steel superstructure wouldn’t have supported the weight.”