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MS Timber Bridge Self-Heals Over Time

Friday, January 18, 2019

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According to a more recent structure inspection, a bridge supported with timber pilings, located in Lincoln County, Mississippi, is reportedly stronger than it was previously: The bridge can now support 23 tons of single-axle traffic and 35 tons on tandem axles, up from the previous five tons.

The timber-frame bridge, which runs over the Big Creek relief channel on Arlington Drive Southwest, is the second of its kind in the county to grow stronger after inspection.

Self-Healing Timber Bridge

Mississippi is facing issues with its infrastructure: At the insistence of the Federal Highway Administration, the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction released a $31 million contract to inspect timber bridges across the state. (The FHA became concerned over Mississippi’s bridge grades in 2016, and ordered further inspections.) In turn, this has led to a number of bridge closures across the state.

“That makes you wonder about a lot of these bridges these companies have inspected,” said District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown. “That’s just a slap—to be five tons one day, 23 tons the next.”

This most recent inspection, completed by engineers from Volkert Inc., was conducted in October 2018.  The Arlington Drive bridge is made of precast concrete on timber pilings, and was built in 1995.

Lincoln County engineer Ryan Holmes noted that when to run calculations can be subjective; one inspector may lean conservative, while others may look at the same situation differently. “There’s not a gold standard out there for inspecting timber bridges.”

According to Holmes, the only other county bridge to become stronger after a federal inspection crosses a McCall Creek tributary, most recently rated at 18 tons.

According to Mississippi Today, as of May 2018, more than half the timber bridges across the state had yet to be inspected. At the time of the article’s writing, 1,533 bridges had been inspected, with consultants recommending the closure of 409 of those bridges, or 29 percent.

Editor's Note: Corrected state abbreviation in the headline on Jan. 18, at 9:19 a.m.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Government; Infrastructure; Inspection; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

Comment from Larry Hagberg, (1/18/2019, 6:17 AM)

Article title is misleading, abbreviation for Mississippi is MS.

Comment from Brandon Lecrone, (1/18/2019, 8:12 AM)

That's not the only part of the title that is misleading!

Comment from Laura Kemmerer, (1/18/2019, 9:21 AM)

The error has been corrected. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and thank you for reading!

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