Pan Am Southern Connecticut River Main Line, Masonry Arch Bridges


The Connecticut River Main Line, owned and operated by Pan Am Southern, runs for approximately 50 mi between Springfield and East Northfield, Massachusetts.  Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) received funding under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Program to improve the railway.  As part of this project, SGH assisted HNTB Corporation (HNTB) with their assessment of eight masonry arch bridge structures along and/or supporting the railway in consideration of planned construction for new rails and tracks.

SGH used nondestructive testing to determine the thickness and material composition of the arch ring for the eight bridges.  The stone or brick masonry bridges were constructed in the late 1800s, with the exception of one location that included a second parallel span built in the 1950s.

For this work, SGH used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to determine the masonry thickness and composition, correlating the GPR data using selected borescope examinations made within drilled holes.  We provided information to HNTB about the arch construction, such as the following:

  • Presence of reinforcement
  • Uniformity of the profile from support to crown
  • Thickness and composition of the materials
  • Presence of voids
  • Type of masonry used throughout each layer or wythe
  • General condition of the masonry materials

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation
Infrastructure & Transportation
HNTB Corporation
Specialized Capabilities
Repair & Strengthening | Marine & Civil Works

Key team members

Matthew Sherman
Matthew Sherman
Senior Principal