The Rova Farms Bridge originally was built in 1929. It actually was a dam and spillway for Cassville Lake, N.J., a popular resort area in the 1940s and 1950s. Route 571/ Cassville Road runs over the bridge in Ocean County, N.J., and can be quite a busy area at times. The water from the lake was starting to undermine the road during heavy rains. Lucas Brothers Construction, Morganville, N.J., won the bid to replace the bridge/dam/spillway. The plan was to replace the current bridge, and widen the spillway for the lake. The contractor also would increase the safety of the bridge by adding shoulder space, updated guard rails and parapets.

On paper, it seemed easy enough for a $1.5 million project, and just another bridge for Lucas Brothers. However, it was far from just another bridge, and was full of challenges. Pat Kipp, the superintendent for Lucas Brothers, had to manage multiple priorities during construction. The Rova Farms District is listed on the state’s register of historic places. The bridge, dam and spillway are considered contributing resources to the historic district. The new structure had to be attached to an older section of the spillway without damaging the older pieces. There were vibration monitors that had to be set up for two nearby residential structures and the old spillway. Some of the piles had to be predrilled. The work area was very small. There were power lines that ran over the job, and they had to be de-energized during pile driving.

Managing the flow of the water during the construction was tricky. The waterway couldn’t be disturbed during certain times of the year. All traffic lanes had to stay open during the construction. The area was prone to flooding, so work was tough to keep on schedule during rainy times. There also were environmental concerns, including spawning fish.

  The job had to be done in sections in order to keep the road open. Lucas Brothers had added to the east side of the bridge first, and then routed the traffic there. The company used several models of International Construction Equipment (ICE) vibratory drivers on different occasions during the various windows of driving opportunity. When applicable, Lucas Brothers would use its ICE excavator-mounted 216E unit; the firm also used several ICE rental units. It had to drive some permanent sheeting and temporary shoring.

Lucas Brothers drove a large road plate, while keeping initial vibration shock to a minimum. Once the bridge deck was poured, crews could demolish sections of the old bridge, which were separated from sections that were to remain by cable-cutting through four-foot-thick concrete walls and footings. The old section of the 20-inch-thick bridge deck had to be cut into several 54-inch-wide pieces with an oversized road saw for removal. They were extremely heavy and fragile, and the pieces had to be loaded in an extremely small work area with traffic moving by. Installing and handling some of the prefab sections of the new bridge required some very intricate rigging, and they needed to be tripped in mid-air once unloaded.

There also were 42 pipe piles that had to be driven on this project. They were closed-end, flat-bottom 12-inch-by-50-foot-long piles, with the test piles being 60-feet long. Lucas Brothers drove the piles, which then were filled with concrete and rebar. Some of the piles had to be predrilled 10 feet deep in order to loosen up the soil, and keep the vibrations down to existing structures.

The job is moving on schedule, and things are progressing well. "ICE's equipment and service has been critical to the success of the job," says Kipp. "They were able to meet the windows of pile driving opportunity with equipment when we needed it."