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Special Projects

In addition to the usual projects undertaken by civil engineers, occasionally we are confronted by a unique, one-of-a-kind project. These "Special Projects" require a degree of versatility and ingenuity. GRA prides itself on being able to address these special problems in a logical, methodical fashion and developing design solutions that fit the needs of the client.

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The World War II Memorial

Fall River, MA
Owner: City of Fall River

The World War II Memorial was designed for the City of Fall River. The City received a gift of plaster molds of a two-thirds size replica of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising Monument in Arlington, Virginia. These molds were crafted by Mr. Felix deWeldon, the sculptor of the original monument at Arlington.

Fall River decided to use this gift molds to produce a bronze sculpture for its proposed World War II Memorial. Subsequently, the City selected GRA to manage the project. GRA was assigned three principal tasks: first, prepare a set of documents by which foundries could bid for the sculpture; second, locate a site for the monument; and third, design the foundation pedestal for the sculpture.

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The sculpture was produced by Johnson Atelier of Mercerville, New Jersey. GRA selected a site, a gently rising grassy area overlooking the Taunton River, and designed the foundation pedestal using beautiful black granite from a quarry in the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan.

The Memorial was dedicated in 2005 before an enthusiastic group of several hundred persons. The major address was made by Mr. James Bradley, a son of one of the flag raisers.

GRA considers it a rare privilege to have participated in this undertaking as a special project.

Demolition of the Old Jamestown Bridge

North Kingstown and Jamestown, RI
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The Old Jamestown Bridge spanned the 1 1/3-mile width of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay between North Kingstown and Jamestown, Rhode Island, for over 50 years. The old bridge consisted of a cantilever truss main span; six deck truss spans; twenty-three girder spans; and thirty-seven trestle approach spans. In 1992, the old bridge was replaced by a modern prestressed concrete deck-type structure named the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge.

Demolition of the old bridge commenced during the early spring of 2006. Demolition operations were carried out in accordance with a comprehensive set of documents prepared by GRA.

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Included in this set were the original 1939 plans of the old bridge; hydrographic surveys of the bay bottom; previously-prepared above- and below-water inspection reports; new contract plans and specifications outlining safety requirements; blasting restrictions; limits of removal; traffic management plans for the closure of the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge during explosive events; procedures for environmental monitoring and compliance; and placement of electronic message boards at critical locations on the State’s roadways warning motorists of delays during explosive events.

A special feature of the demolition documents was the designation of three off-shore sites for the construction of artificial fishery reefs. The reefs were constructed by depositing concrete debris of bridge decks and foundations at the designated sites.

Fish Ladder and Dam Improvements and Repairs

Relocated Route 403
East Greenwich and North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Owner: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

The Relocated Route 403 project is located within a very sensitive wetland and water resources area which includes the Hunt River, Frenchtown Brook and Fry Brook, as well as the Hunt-Annaquatucket-Pettaquamscutt (HAP) sole source aquifer.

The development of a viable transportation solution for this corridor required a delicate balance between transportation needs and environmental protection. As part of the environmental mitigation for wetland impacts, GRA designed fish ladders and fish ladder improvements at locations within the project vicinity.

GRA designed improvements at the Forge Road Dam (right) on the Hunt River in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The improvements consisted of removal of rock and cobbles in the tidal zone below the Forge Road fishway to create a defined, unobstructed channel to the base of the fishway, and the construction of a downstream passage chute at the top of the dam to help prevent juvenile fish mortality.

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GRA designed improvements at Potowomut Dam (left) on Potowomut Pond and the Hunt River in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The design improvements consisted of a downstream passage chute at the top of the dam to help prevent juvenile fish mortality, and modifications to the existing fish ladder to accommodate a 14-inch water surface elevation change resulting from the installation of new and additional weir boards at the Potowomut Dam. GRA’s design consisted of installing filler pieces within each baffle to adjust the fishway slope, thereby eliminate a hydraulic jump at the fishway exit. The filler sections steepened the hydraulic gradient of the fishway, but provided a constant and continuous hydraulic gradient from the fishway entrance, Hunt River, to the exit, Potowomut Pond.