Rapid Transit Aerial Structures

Editorial by Cliff Freyermuth, Manager, ASBI

Included in this newsletter are project reports on three major rapid transit projects, all using segmental construction for aerial structures: JFK Airport (8.7 miles), Portland, and Vancouver (10.25 miles). Several sections of segmental aerial guideway have been completed for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and segmental construction has been extensively used by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Elevated portions of Puerto Rico’s 17.2km Tren Urbano project now under construction in San Juan utilize segmental superstructures. Design of segmental structures is now well advanced for a proposed rapid transit facility in Orlando.

Looking to the future, seven agencies are now investigating development of up to a total of 370 miles of high-speed rail construction (240 mph) under the Maglev Development Program.

In financial terms, it appears that there will be funding for about $2 billion worth of guideway construction in 2000. Annual spending for guideway construction is forecast to grow to $2.65 billion by 2005. Increasing congestion on urban highways and increasing urban sprawl obviously spurs more interest in rapid transit systems.

To further enhance the advantages of segmental construction for rapid transit aerial structures, the PCI-ASBI Joint Committee will begin an investigation of the feasibility of development of standard sections for aerial guideways at the meeting scheduled for February 29 in Phoenix. Other cooperative concrete industry initiatives are under consideration to respond to the needs of this rapidly growing component of the construction industry.

Reflecting on the successful record to date, it is anticipated that segmental construction will continue to be the solution of choice for most rapid transit projects in the future.