Godineaux Bridge Restoration
Any basic check for the origin on the name 'Godineaux' would reveal that it stems from the word ‘good,’ and surely, good things are worth saving. And ‘saving’ is exactly what was done with respect to the Godineaux bridge located on Trinidad’s south west peninsula. The Godineaux is a mainstay fixture of service to the area, having been constructed in 1956 -54 years ago- providing access to some of the major petrochemical companies in the country and also providing connectivity to the well-known La Brea Pitch Lake.
Rehabilitation works on the Godineaux, which commenced in July 2009, finally came to a formal end with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for which Minister of Works and Transport, the Hon. Jack Warner and Stacy Roopnarine, Member of Parliament (MP) for Oropuche West, along with staff from the Ministry of Works and Transport’s Bridges Branch and PURE (Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency) Unit were present. Major works for this project were carried out by Corrosion and Environmental Services Limited along with consultants CEP (Consulting Engineers Partnership) Limited.
An initial inspection of the bridge had indicated that only repainting and minor repairs were necessary. However, with scaffolding in place, when rehabilitation works began, the true and significant extent of the corrosion and spalling (chipping and flaking) of the bridge members became apparent. This was to the degree where it was discovered that one of the beams was corroded to the point of it no longer supporting the deck slab. Diagonal members on both the eastern and western ends of the bridge were also badly damaged by high vehicles on separate occasions and needed to be replaced. Further structural assessment also revealed that some of the main beams and trusses were overstressed by as much as 200%. These findings, as such, led to the conclusion that bridge collapse would be imminent if significant repair works were not undertaken.
Repair and restoration though, were not enough. Given the extent of the bridge’s state of disrepair, it was deemed necessary to rebuild the existing structure, not to its original design capacity but to improve its load bearing capacity to that in keeping with current international standards. In so doing the bridge was remodeled to accommodate the most recent bridge codes, AASHTO (American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials) LRFD (Load Resistance Factor Design) utilizing the HL93 Loading: this includes a train of vehicles together with a 41Tonne truck and a dynamic allowance of 33% for vibration and fatigue.
The strengthening works included the addition of new longitudinal beams alongside the existing beams; removing the damaged cross bracing and replacing it with a stiffer truss section on both sides; replacement of the sidewalk support beams; addition of beam onto the top chord; addition of angled plates to the hanger for stiffening and use of a special high strength grout on the deck in order to add stiffness to the top flange of the transverse girders.
While the commuting public did express their frustrations over the lengthy period of this project, the duration of the restoration could hardly have been avoided given the scope and nature of the restructuring works that the condition of the Godineaux demanded. Moreover, the quality of the works with respect to integrity of the bridge and, most importantly, the safety of the bridge users, were the factors that were paramount as opposed to a shorter completion time.
With the Godineaux now restored and improved, its needed service should, indeed, continue far beyond another 53 years.