The City of Aurora, IL and HR Green win 2014 APWA Project of the Year and ACEC Merit Awards
The Downer Place Bridges over the Fox River project was awarded the 2014 Project of the Year Award by the Fox Valley Branch and the Chicago Metro Chapter. The project also received the ACEC Merit Award.
The existing bridges were three-span filled spandrel arches constructed in 1909 using reinforced concrete. The bridges connect historic Stolp Island to the rest of Aurora, and were listed on the Historic Register. The original bridges could not be replaced in kind for a number of reasons, but historic considerations required a reasonable replication.
In order to replicate an historic appearance with modern techniques, HR Green specified three spans of precast, prestressed concrete deck beams, with precast concrete fascia in the shape of the original arches. Period lighting was also installed on the original piers and abutments.
Design was complicated by extensive utility conflicts, lack of drawings for the existing bridges, and the abutments being integral with historic building foundations dating to the 1840’s. While the schedule of this high profile project caused initial concerns, the single-season construction of this bridge was the fastest completion of a bridge ever rebuilt within the City of Aurora. The City of Aurora held a grand re-opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new bridges on December 12, 2012.