Wildcat Creek Bridge on US 12 in Washington State.

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques helped engineers and contractors in Washington State replace an 82-year-old span in just 17 days. It also saved $4 million.

The new Wildcat Creek Bridge on US 12 near White Pass, about 120 miles east of Olympia, opened Oct. 22.

ARTBA member Stantec, a global engineering and consulting firm, led the design of the comprehensive bridge replacement in collaboration with Graham Contracting and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The original 150-foot bridge was deteriorating due to age and normal wear.

“The design-build team developed an innovative approach using a 54-foot precast arch culvert instead of a standard WSDOT girder bridge,” said Richard Patterson, Stantec transportation senior associate. “The design focused on using all precast concrete elements and minimized any cast-in-place concrete. Precast elements included foundations, arch, retaining walls, and traffic barriers.”

The ABC alternative was only achievable by closely working with Yakima County officials and other stakeholders to develop the detour route that allowed full closure of US 12 at the bridge site, Patterson said. This approach shaved one third off the project’s $12 million budget.

The arch structure adds stability, maintains natural hydrology and fish habitat, improves public safety, and compliments local and regional aesthetics. The detour is gone, the highway is open, and final landscaping is set to be completed in November.