Gold Star Memorial Bridge, Bridge No. 02514A, LRFR Load Rating

New London,  Connecticut


Key Facts:
  • Largest Bridge in CT
  • 6,368 foot span

he Gold Star Memorial Bridge is a 30 span structure carrying 5 lanes of I-95 SB traffic and a pedestrian sidewalk over the Thames River, SR 635, local roads and the New England Central Railroad. Built circa 1973, the iconic bridge has an overall length of 6,368 feet and is considered the largest bridge in the state of Connecticut. With major industrial and government facilities in the area, including U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Naval Subbase, the bridge is of extremely high relevance to the traveling public.

The bridge is comprised of 3 superstructure types, with 13 welded steel multi-girder approach spans, 6 girder-floorbeam-stringer approach spans, and 11 deck truss main spans. GM2 was tasked with the LRFR load rating of the bridge in the as-inspected condition, including deterioration and repairs based on the most recent inspection report. The non-redundant nature of the bridge, as well as its magnitude, make this load rating analysis a complex task requiring the utmost level of attention from both a technical and management standpoint. The ongoing load rating analysis includes evaluation of all main structural elements, including main girders, stringers, floorbeams, splices, and gusset plates. 

The analysis includes both line girder and 3D FEM analysis using AASHTOWare BrR and Midas Civil, respectively, in conjunction with CTDOT in-house load rating tools following CTDOT Bridge Load Rating Manual and AASHTO MBE and AASHTO LRFD specifications.