Category: Monthly Webinar ABC of Detroit’s Network Tied Arch using SPMTs

May 18, 2023 1:00 pm

Mike LaViolette, P.E., P.Eng., National Bridge Practice Leader, HDR; Matt Longfield, P.E., S.E., Michigan Bridge Section Leader, HDR; and John Belcher, P.E., Bridge Construction Engineer, Michigan Department of Transportation

Webinar Documents:
ABC of Detroit’s Network Tied Arch using SPMTs - pdf of presentation
2022 Second Avenue Bridge Move over I-94 - time-lapse video (courtesy Michigan DOT)
MDOT I-94 Modernization Project: Second Avenue Bridge - home page
Q&A Session - pdf
News - May 18, 2023 - pdf of presentation

 Description: The Second Avenue Bridge consists of a 245-ft-long unbraced network tied arch span that carries vehicular traffic, bicycles, and pedestrians in separate dedicated lanes over I-94 in Detroit, Michigan. The bridge is the first skewed and unbraced network tied arch span in the U.S. and provides a signature element to the multi-year reconstruction of this heavily traveled urban freeway corridor. The bridge skeleton, consisting of arch ribs, tie girders, end diaphragms and floorbeams, was assembled in a staging area approximately 500 feet from the final bridge location. It was installed during a short closure of I-94 in July 2022, using three separate ABC operations in a single project – self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs), skidrail launching, and a second set of SPMTs to transport the bridge across the freeway. Following the bridge move and prior to re-opening traffic on I-94, the tied arch skeleton was lowered approximately 16 feet onto the permanent abutment bearings. Placement of deck concrete was completed after freeway traffic was resumed. This presentation discusses the design, the assembly of the bridge skeleton in the staging area, the ABC installation, and lessons learned.



Mike LaViolette, P.E., P.Eng.
National Bridge Practice Leader

Mike is a Senior Professional Associate and National Bridge Practice Leader with HDR. He has over 30 years of experience in complex bridge design and construction engineering services for U.S. and international projects. Mike was the lead bridge designer for the I-94 2nd Avenue Bridge. His previous projects include the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge in New York, and he is currently serving as Senior Technical Advisor for the $10B Ontario Line transit project in Toronto. He earned his B.S. (Civil Engineering) and M.S. (Structural Engineering) degrees from Iowa State University.


Matt Longfield, P.E., S.E.
Michigan Bridge Section Leader


Matt is the Bridge Section Manager for HDR in Michigan. He has been intimately involved with construction of the I-94 2nd Avenue Bridge, including review of contractor erection analysis and extensive on-site technical assistance. Matt has 14 years of experience in bridge engineering, construction, and inspection, including several ABC projects utilizing SPMTs, sliding, and precast construction. He earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Toledo and his M.Eng. in Structural Engineering from the University of Michigan.


John Belcher, P.E.
Bridge Construction Engineer
Michigan Department of Transportation


John is the Statewide Bridge Construction Engineer for the Michigan DOT’s Bureau of Bridges and Structures. He leads MDOT’s effort to achieve statewide alignment and innovation, and he provides field support to MDOT Regions and Transportation Service Center (TSC) construction offices on all aspects of bridge construction. John has over 21 years of experience including eight years serving as MDOT’s Concrete Engineer. He earned his B.S. degree from Tri-State University in Angola, Indiana.

Presentation Photos/Graphics:

1) Bridge skeleton erected on falsework in the staging area

2) Aerial view of bridge skeleton being moved with SPMTs in the staging area

3) Bridge skeleton being cantilevered over the abutment during the bridge move

4) Ground level view of SPMTs and towers supporting arch span during the bridge move

5) Completed Second Avenue Bridge over I-94, Detroit, MI