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Ohio Bridge Closed After Beams Buckle

Friday, October 7, 2016

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A bridge in one northeastern Ohio town is closed indefinitely after officials found structural damage so severe they say the span will have to be replaced entirely.

The Lake Rockwell Bridge, in Streetsboro, was reportedly inspected as recently as April with no evidence of structural issues noted. But contractors working nearby noticed that something seemed amiss with the bridge Monday (Oct. 3), and upon closer inspection found buckling in the steel beams holding the span up.

Officials closed the bridge, which carries Route 14 over Lake Rockwell, immediately after an inspector confirmed the situation reported by the contractors.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced Tuesday (Oct. 4) that it was pursuing an emergency contract for the replacement of the bridge, which would allow work to begin immediately. The town’s mayor told a local news source that the construction would take around six months.

'Not Caused by Corrosion'

Photos of the bridge released to local news outlets show pillars under the three-span, continuous steel beam structure, which extend down into shallow water, visibly twisted and exhibiting evidence of some degree of corrosion.

A representative of the Ohio Department of Transportation told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that the damage was brought about by factors other than corrosion alone. ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning told the newspaper that it may have been caused by an oversized load crossing the bridge.

It is not known when the damage might have first occurred; the Department of Transportation shared photos from late July that show the beams functioning correctly, so the issue came about sometime between that time and Monday.

"This is not something that would be caused by corrosion," Bruning told the Plain Dealer.

Fox 8 Cleveland reports that Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said the bridge has seen plenty of truck traffic over the 31 years since it was built in 1984.

It was not immediately clear how heavy a truck would have to be to cause damage to the pillars, but the Plain Dealer reports that in Ohio, vehicles over 80,000 pounds must receive a special hauling permit and are required to reroute to roads and bridges that can better handle the weight.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Corrosion; Infrastructure; Structural steel

Comment from Jon Edwards, (10/7/2016, 10:37 AM)

Based on the consistent failure location, it appears the contractor drove piles, cut them off and field welded the upper portion between the cut-off and pier cap. I'm guessing poor alignment and a less than great welding job contributed to the failure. I'd suggest temporary supports for the bridge and pier cap, slightly lifting the bridge if necessary, cutting piles above and below the failure, properly welding in replacement sections, zinc metalizing plus sealing coat, and encasing piles in concrete using sonotubes. A much quicker and cheaper fix than replacing the bridge.

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