Cracking OH Bridge Scheduled for Repairs
Officials in Summit County, Ohio, have recently approved a construction contract for the rehabilitation of the South Main Street Bridge in Akron after cracks in the span of the bridge were found to be rapidly deteriorating the structure.
According to a release from the Summit County Engineer’s Office, the contract includes plans to install new concrete box beams, a concrete deck and minor approach roadway work, totaling $645,000.
Construction and repairs will reportedly be done by contractor Kenmore Construction and are expected to take around 75 days to complete. According to reports, the repairs will not begin immediately, as Kenmore Construction needs to order materials for the work.
The Engineer’s Office says that design plans are dependent on the delivery of beams for the project. Officials reportedly expect the plans within a month, while the start of construction is expected in about two months.
The bridge had reportedly already been scheduled for work, though deterioration ocurred faster than the Engineer’s Office had hoped, with a recent inspection finding additional deterioration and prompting a closure of the bridge last Thursday (July 6).
“We have been keeping an eye on it the past few months,” director of administration and government affairs for Engineer Alan Brubaker, Heidi Swindell told reporters. “It was safest for everybody if we closed it down immediately.”
“The good news is it's a very simple bridge,” Swindell continued. “The design isn't going to be complicated. They will know very early on within the month what they need to order.”
Detours for the bridge—which reportedly sees around 6,000 vehicles a day pass over it—will be available along Comet Road to Manchester Road to Nimisila Road.
Funds for the repairs reportedly come from the County Engineers Association of Ohio (CEAO) Local Bridge Program, the Bridge Credit Program and Local Funds.
Other Recent Bridge Work
Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation held a public meeting to hear residents’ concerns and give updates about the next steps being taken after lead paint chips reportedly began falling off of the Tobin Bridge into nearby yards in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
During the meeting, MassDOT provided details and received comments about the ongoing cleanup efforts and planned structural cleaning and painting, as well as steel and concrete repairs on the cantilever truss bridge between Boston and Chelsea.
In April, MassDOT issued a Lead Paint Chip Advisory informing the public that paint chips were observed to have started falling off of the Tobin Bridge. In the announcement, MassDOT stated that the paint chips were likely to contain lead, which can cause serious health problems, especially in children. The Department advised residents not to allow children to touch or play near any paint chips found and suggested that concerned parents get their children tested for lead exposure.
MassDOT said at the time that its contractor would begin vacuuming the paint chips and safely disposing of them, starting in parking lots and then moving to yards, sidewalks and other areas under the bridge.
According to MassDOT, the Tobin Bridge is over 75 years old, and the cycle of freezing and thawing over many years has heightened the issue of falling paint chips, causing steel exposures and bridge decay to happen at a faster rate.
Now, workers will reportedly continue vacuuming lead chips around and under the bridge in preparation for paint removal and repairs, which are expected to begin in spring of 2024. Additionally, netting will reportedly be added around the columns to catch any more paint chips that may fall off.
The removal, in addition to repairs, will reportedly cost $125 million and is projected to take around four years to complete. Officials have stated that no permanent lane closures would take place during the project, in which crews will work to remove old paint, complete repairs and repaint the steel.
According to MassDOT, lead paint is currently present in 30% of all steel structures in the U.S. and Massachusetts, being an industry standard up until the 1990s. The Tobin Bridge has reportedly been repainted numerous times over its lifespan, but some brittle lead-based coatings have remained on parts of the structure.