River Traffic

The Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive (FDR Drive) in New York City features a three-tiered concrete viaduct structure that needed extensive rehabilitation. Normal repair procedures would have generated either unacceptable traffic delays or noise levels. This article describes the design and construction of an alternative strategy that replicated the traffic-carrying capacity of the travel lanes of FDR Drive. Since the road runs along the waterfront, a separate three-lane detour structure was constructed that extended out into the river, allowing traffic to bypass the construction zone. A unique, flexible floating fender system was designed that protected the detour roadway. The fender system consisted of two types of floating steel elements: tubular berthing beams strung along two barge-like pontoons called dolphins. The smooth face of the berthing beam and the flexibility of the fender are designed to gently redirect errant vessels away from the detour roadway. Retainer brackets on the front of the dolphin allow the berthing beam to rise and fall with the tide while the dolphin remains at a constant elevation. Although nearly half of the $139 million cost of rehabilitating FDR Drive is being spent on providing and protecting the outboard detour roadway, the payoffs include substantially reduced construction time and fewer traffic delays.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01001328
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 27 2005 11:10AM