Frederick Gottemoeller - Bridgescape LLC

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Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond

Ken Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond

Worcester, MA

The previous bridge was a series of short concrete deck arches in a traditional style. Its multiple short arches interfered with boat passage and blocked views up and down the lake. The communities asked that their new bridge be an equally memorable structure but one more conducive to boating and more supportive of the scenic values of the lake. The University of Massachusetts Medical School, the management and residents of a nearby senior housing center and the commercial interests in Shrewsbury also had concerns about the project. With this broad and intense interest the Massachusetts Department of Transportation formed a high level steering committee that included the local state senator, the two local state representatives, the mayors of the two towns and the chair of the Lake Quinsigamond commission. Mt. Gottemoeller worked with this committee to develop the architectural features of the bridge.

The project consists of parallel twin bridges, each carrying three lanes of one way traffic, a bike lane and a sidewalk that varies from 8' to 11' in width. The bridges are separated by a 10' air space. The separation allowed the new eastbound bridge to be built to the south of the old bridge while it stayed in service. Then traffic was switched to the new eastbound bridge, the old bridge was demolished and the new westbound bridge built in its place.

The structural system for each bridge consists of three lines of steel deck arches. To avoid horizontal forces on the piers and abutments there is a tension tie for each line of arches just below the roadway deck. For this reason the bridge ends with half arches at each abutment. The abutments are high enough that the ends of the arch ribs don't interfere with walkways along the banks of the lake while vandal access to the arch ribs is prevented. This arch concept was compared to a conventional haunched welded plate girder design and found to require very little if any cost premium.

Mr. Gottemoeller led the development of the structural concept working closely with the engineering team, developed all of the architectural and urban design concepts, coordinated the development of the preliminary aesthetic lighting concept and led the interaction with the steering committee. The project was constructed under a design-build procurement in which both the conceptual and preliminary designs were prepared by Mr. Gottemoeller working with Transystems, Inc. The final design and construction plans were developed by others working for the contractor. Completion is expected in early 2016.

  • Length: 870 ft.
  • Width: Eastbound Bridge 59 ft, Westbound Bridge 63'
  • Main Spans: 210, 240, 210 ft.
  • Approximate Project Cost: $90 million
  • Year of Completion: 2015
  • Engineer for Design Build RFP: Transystems, Inc.
  • Aesthetic Lighting: Illumination Arts
  • Design Build Engineer: FST Inc.
  • Owner: Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Photo Credits: Andy Valenti, Transystems, Inc.