Wisconsin Avenue Bridge Rehabilitation and Strengthening

Washington, DC

A national treasure is stronger and safer thanks to the strengthening and restoration of the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge, one of five original stone arch bridges to cross the C&O Canal and its adjacent tow path near Georgetown. Built in 1831, the single-span, 54-foot-long masonry arch bridge is the oldest existing highway structure in Washington, D.C.

Since this bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing element to the Georgetown National Historic Landmark District, maintaining the visual historic integrity of the structure was a key concern. The rehabilitation was further complicated by the coordination and consensus required between multiple federal and district agencies, the need to maintain traffic across the bridge, and the extensive public coordination required. FHWA and the District of Columbia called on KCI to inspect, analyze and develop plans for the rehabilitation.

Once engineers determined that traditional methods of strengthening were not viable due to physical constraints and historic concerns, the team chose to strengthen the bridge using the Archtec™ system—a proprietary masonry strengthening system developed by Cintec. The KCI team worked with Cintec and their engineer Gifford to analyze and design the innovative strengthening system, which called for embedding stainless steel reinforcing rods within the structure to strengthen the bridge without altering its facade. The strengthening was completed in under three weeks with minimal impacts to traffic.https://cintec.com/anchoring-reinforcement/civil-engineering/masonry-arch-bridge-strengthening/a

The Wisconsin Avenue Bridge is again completely open to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic following restoration and strengthening of the wrought iron railings, repairs to the surrounding stone masonry retaining walls, utility relocations, roadway reconstruction and resurfacing, and completion of the brick sidewalks. It is now strong enough to stand the test of time, and the weight of 45-ton trucks, for the foreseeable future.