The I-83 East Shore Section 2 Eisenhower Interchange Reconstruction project in Dauphin County, PA is one of several projects The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is advancing along a portion of the I-83 Capital Beltway, which extends from a junction with I-81 northeast of Harrisburg to the interchange with Route 581 across the Susquehanna River, south of Harrisburg in Cumberland County. The Harrisburg Capital Beltway encircles the city of Harrisburg, which is the capital of Pennsylvania, and surrounding municipalities. The Capital Beltway is vital to the economy of the Harrisburg region and is an important hub in the transportation network of the northeastern United States.
PennDOT selected McCormick Taylor in 2016 to perform preliminary engineering, environmental studies, and final design for this project that includes the reconstruction of the Eisenhower Interchange and portions of I-283, U.S. 322, and Eisenhower Boulevard. A design field view was submitted in September 2020 with a preliminary project construction cost estimated at over $700 million. This is one of PennDOT District 8’s biggest projects and one of the largest projects in Pennsylvania.
Below is a Q&A with Brian Bell, PE, who serves as the structures manager for the project.
What about the project highlights McCormick Taylor’s talents?
I think the biggest highlight is our ability to work as a team across all disciplines and office locations. We had numerous conference calls to work through any cross-discipline requirements when starting to layout each bridge type and location. This project also highlights our ability to adapt and deliver a high-quality product while working remotely.
Have you come across any challenges or concerns while working on this project?
The interchange structures were particularly challenging to lay out span arrangements and substructure locations when taking into account construction staging, temporary roadway alignments, existing structures, and vertical clearance requirements which limits span depths and span lengths. Additionally, determining structure layouts over the Norfolk Southern railroad was difficult with regard to constructability concerns for beam placement and crane locations.
Does the project have any unique aspects?
I think the whole project is unique with all the new alignments in the interchange and connections. There are several locations where we are threading a needle to get roadway alignments and structures to fit within project constraints.
Can you touch on some of the key technical aspects of the project?
There are a lot of proposed curved girder bridges on the project due to the roadway alignments and vertical clearance requirements. Where possible, prestressed concrete beams were also used.
What’s your favorite part of the project?
The preliminary design of the interchange structures was particularly challenging and rewarding when getting a layout to work within all discipline requirements. The design of the two large mainline flyover structures was also rewarding because I got to work with our structure staff to provide layouts with long spans over proposed interchange ramps and Norfolk Southern railroad. It was also great to see our structures staff in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh work as one unit to present our preliminary structure layout and all the thought put into each structure to the District.