JEO Wins ACEC Kansas Award for I-70 Emergency Bridge Repairs

JEO Consulting Group received an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Kansas for emergency bridge repairs on eastbound I-70 where it crosses the Kansas River in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The ACEC Kansas awards recognize innovative and outstanding examples of engineering, and the award was presented in the small projects category.

Known as part of the Lewis and Clark Viaduct, the eastbound I-70 bridge over the Kansas River carries approximately 22,500 vehicles daily. When this truss girder structure needed emergency repairs, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) selected JEO to provide design engineering services for the repairs. Typically, a project like this would span 18 months. However, because the expansion joints were failing and the abrasive chlorides and salt used during winter treatments could damage the structural steel truss, KDOT fast tracked the project for completion by the 2021-2022 winter season. As such, this project was completed in just seven months.

JEO evaluated both the bridge and the existing seals, designed final plans, and oversaw the actual repairs, which involved replacing nine strip seal assembly expansion joints and one modular expansion device as well as providing minor deck patching and concrete surface repairs.

One of the greatest project challenges came in the form of the modular expansion device. Uniquely created for each situation, this joint typically requires three months to fabricate—time this project did not have. To ensure KDOT could order the custom device early in the project schedule, JEO carefully evaluated the costs, effectiveness, and availability of all the options, and identified the correct joint for the bridge. KDOT then purchased it, even before the contractor was hired.

While the 0.7-mile project footprint was located in Kansas, detoured traffic crossed into Missouri. This necessitated extensive coordination with multiple impacted municipalities, KDOT, and the Missouri Department of Transportation. Additionally, Burns & McDonnell served as a subconsultant and handled the traffic control portion of the project, determining traffic would be detoured onto nearby I-670 during the 16-day bridge closure. They also managed the project’s community engagement efforts.

In the end, the project reopened to traffic before winter began, exceeded the client’s expectations, and came in more than $100,000 under budget.