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Phillipston Bridge Replacement

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A Success Story: The Commonwealth's First Heavy Lift Bridge Project

film strip of project stages

Purpose of the project:

In October, 2010, MassDOT replaced the existing structurally deficient bridge that carries Route 2 over Route 2A (State Road) in Phillipston in a way that resulted in the least possible impact to road users. This project is part of the $3 billion Patrick - Murray Accelerated Bridge Program, which aims to restore and repair structurally deficient bridges across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

During the late hours of October 27th and early hours October 28th, spectators from across the Commonwealth came and observed the first ever Heavy-Lift bridge project. The bridge needed to be replaced because the superstructure had deteriorated and was damaged by truck collisions. To avoid future truck collisions, MassDOT increased the new bridge’s vertical clearance to 16'-6".

Accelerated Method of Construction:

MassDOT’s contractor, SPS/TranSystems, built the replacement bridge on temporary supports just north of the old bridge, spanning Route 2A.

Once SPS/TranSystems had completely built the replacement superstructure on the temporary abutments, they demolished the old bridge and the moved the replacement bridge into place using specialized self-propelled trailers called Goldhofer trailers. MassDOT allowed SPS/TranSystems 202 hours to detour traffic for the bridge "move". They completed the work well ahead of schedule and reopened the bridge after just 121 hours.

construction process diagram

Below: Photo taken by ABP staff immediately after the superstructure was placed in its final location.
Slide-In system diagram

Visit the Phillipston Photo Gallery on flickr.

Detour Routes:

The bridge was open to traffic except during the 121 consecutive hours necessary to demolish the existing structure and move the new superstructure into place. The detour routes went into effect on Monday October 22, 2010. All roads were fully reopened to traffic on October 30, 2010.

ROUTE 2 Traffic:

During the time of the detour, all Route 2 traffic followed a very short detour around the bridge site using the Exit 18 eastbound off- and on-ramps which were temporarily widened.

ROUTE 2A Traffic:

Route 2A traffic was detoured via Exit 17 to the west and Exit 19 to the east. Ward Hill Road access to and from the Route 2 eastbound off-ramp was closed for the duration of the move, but is now fully accessible to all local traffic

Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) Methods:

"ABC" methods are means of rapidly building bridges by building major bridge components apart from their final location and installing them quickly using cranes, gantry systems or Self-propelled motorized transporters. ABC techniques minimize construction-related impacts (such as traffic congestion) by moving as much of the work of building bridges out of the roadway. This project was completed in just one construction season. We estimate that conventional staged construction methods would have resulted in a three-year project.

Past Meeting Documents:

Additional Information and Related Links:


  • Women in Transportation Seminar Massachusetts Chapter's 2011 Innovative Transportation Solutions Award
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts' 2011 Gold Award for Professional Design Excellence
  • Construction Management Association of America, New England Chapter's Infrastructure Project of the Year Award (project under $10M).

Contact Information:

To submit question and concerns or to request additional information please Email Us.

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