Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Schell Bridge


Northampton Historical Commission Team: Taronne Tabucchi, Eidan Webster, Mimi Zhang

2004-2005: In collaboration with the Northfield Historical Commission and two volunteer structural engineering liaisons, this student team structurally analyzed and designed a rehabilitation plan for the Schell Memorial Bridge in Northfield, Massachusetts. The bridge is over 100 years old and was closed to all traffic in 1985 because of major structural deficiencies. It is not only an endangered historic structure, but also a link between the two parts of Northfield; residents currently have to circumvent the Connecticut River and travel approximately seven miles in order to reach the other side of their small community.

The team focused on designing a rehabilitation plan for the bridge for pedestrian, bicycle, and emergency vehicle access for multiple decking widths (12, 15 and 18 feet). This rehabilitation plan addresses the minimum required repairs to re-open the bridge for use. Included in this rehabilitation plan are detailed repairs for critical truss members and recommendations for other components of the bridge needing repair (e.g. bearings, bridge decking). From these results, the team developed an initial cost estimate for the three different bridge decking widths. Building on the team’s analysis and recommendations, the Friends of Schell Bridge is pursuing the necessary funds for rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of the bridge.