Four Las Americas Bridges over Rio Piedras and Rio Puerto Nuevo Channel Improvements
The Rio Puerto Nuevo site is located in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Contract 4 site includes the replacement of four bridges located at the Las Americas Expressway (PR-18) interchange with Piñero Avenue (PR-17). These major thoroughfares in San Juan each cross over the Rio Puerto Nuevo Channel approximately 3 miles upstream from the San Juan Harbor.
Las Americas Expressway Bridge (Bridge 1) is a twelve-lane structure with three independent structures that span across Rio Piedras. The northeast (NE) Access Ramp (Bridge 2) provides PR-17 WB access to and from NB PR-18 and there are two separate single lane spans across Rio Piedras. Piñero Avenue East Bridges (Bridge 3) are two independent four lane structures that span Rio Piedras, one in the eastbound direction and one in the westbound direction.
SVS led a five-day Value Engineering Workshop, in collaboration with CDM Smith. The team focused on alternative technical solutions for the bridge design and, more critically for this project, constructability solutions regarding replacement of the bridge. The team developed alternatives solutions for the foundations, which were impacted by the canal design, that simplified the design and reduced risk significantly in constructability of these solutions. Additionally, it used more traditional technologies that would be easier for this location.
This project was exceptionally challenging in maintaining traffic given PR-18 was the main highway in Puerto Rico. To assist in constructability, the team developed alternatives focused on the phasing of the construction and maintenance of traffic. These solutions reduced the phasing from four phases to three, reducing construction schedule, and allowing more traffic through during construction, ultimately reducing congestion on this busy thoroughfare. These recommendations also reduced capital construction cost by almost 15%.