Emergency Repairs to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge

Our Client’s Challenge

The I-66 Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, which connects Washington, D.C. with Virginia, experiences a daily average of 100,000 vehicles across seven lanes, a figure that has increased in post-pandemic years. The bridge is a main thoroughfare across the Potomac River to many historic sites and venues, such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

In October 2021, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) issued a contract change directive for its on-call general contractor to perform superstructure repair work on the historic Theodore Roosevelt memorial bridge. The repair work involved retrofitting and repairing the existing hinge floor beams on the main bridge, the Little River bridge span, and Ramp C. However, when the general contractor began initial cleaning and sandblasting, significant rust deterioration was discovered that could not have been detected during a routine condition inspection.

The contractor immediately alerted DDOT, leading to a site visit and an independent structural analysis. The analysis determined that two floor beams showed significant deterioration and section loss, requiring immediate action to divert traffic off the middle bridge bay and to immediately post a bridge weight restriction of 10 tons.

The resulting analysis and inspection findings concluded the following floor beams required immediate repair:

  • Floor beam 3 (Span 5): Retrofit plating along the bottom half of the existing beam, as well as sandblasting and final painting.
  • Floor beam 4 (Span 5): New, adjacent support beams spanning the entire bridge width.
  • Floor beam 7 (Span 10): New, adjacent support beams spanning the entire bridge width.
  • Floor beam 8 (Span 10): Sandblasting and final painting.

Our Solution

Over the next nine-month duration of emergency bridge repairs, Gannett Fleming demonstrated construction management and project management best practices by collaborating closely with the general contractor. This partnership fostered robust quality management practices throughout the construction project from start to finish. The team effectively navigated supply constraints through regular discussions and proactive communication with the steel fabricator. The joint efforts improved the project’s design practicality and ensured that all construction processes adhered to applicable standards, promptly addressing any deviations to maintain integrity and meet established quality benchmarks.

Concurrently, Gannett Fleming implemented meticulous time management strategies, characterized by detailed scheduling and the use of advanced project management tools for real-time progress tracking. Regular meetings and a proactive risk management approach helped identify potential delays, allowing the team to devise contingency plans and buffer solutions. These strategies ensured the project adhered to its timeline, illustrating Gannett Fleming’s capability to manage complex construction tasks efficiently while upholding quality and schedule commitments.

All team members, including DDOT, the engineer of record, civil engineers, and the general contractor, showed incredible collaboration, completing the sister beam installation on the main bridge in July 2022 and the Little River span in August 2022 — just 10 months after the general contractor discovered the severe deterioration.

The project team expedited construction activities as rapidly as possible and successfully completed the project on schedule, while diligently adhering to all applicable safety measures and building codes. The bridge was safely opened to traffic after construction work and weight restrictions were lifted following the installation of the sister beams. The project team finalized all secondary load-bearing member repairs and bridge painting in February 2023.

Key Features

  • Emergency bridge repairs to four floor beams on two spans.
  • Installation of two new adjacent support beams spanning the entire width of the main bridge.
  • Retrofit plating along the bottom half of one existing beam, sandblasting, and final painting of two main bridge beams.
  • Support beam installation on the Little River bridge span.
  • Support bays across the middle bridge lanes to rapidly lift the lane closure.


  • Expedited construction management with enhanced safety measures.
  • Improved driving experience for vehicles.
  • Increased service life for the existing bridge structure.

Awards & Recognition

  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington, 2023, Engineering Excellence Merit Award


District Department of Transportation


Washington, D.C.


Construction Management

More Project Details

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