Overhaul of bridge moves into next phase
Steel beams lifted for $28.7M project
The Anthony Wayne Bridge overhaul project is entering its homestretch.
Crews from contractor E.S. Wagner on Monday began hoisting into position steel beams for two new East Toledo approach spans on a piece of the bridge that is being entirely replaced as part of the $28.7 million project.
Concrete pours for redecking of other approach spans that aren’t being replaced, meanwhile, started last week — the first such pours since September on the structure also known as the High Level Bridge.
For motorists, of course, the most important milestone will be reopening the bridge, which has been closed since March, 2014.
David Geckle, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s area engineer in charge of the project, said it remains on track for early November — later than the original early-October target, but still with some slack before this construction season’s end.
“We added some structural-steel repairs, but we’re right in line at this point,” Mr. Geckle said.
While work is being done all over the 1931 vintage bridge, replacement of the first approach span at either end of its main suspension span is the most visible change.
The bridge was built with single deck-truss spans in those positions, a design engineers describe as “fracture critical”: Its lack of structural redundancy means a failure in certain areas could cause an immediate collapse.
Those single truss spans are being replaced with a pair of girder-supported spans at either end, which required building a pier at each end. Along with weight-distribution issues on the suspension span, the truss spans’ complete replacement was a key reason the bridge has been closed to traffic during the project, rather than being rebuilt in stages with lanes kept open.
Placing steel for the new spans on the bridge’s downtown Toledo end is still a few weeks away, Mr. Geckle said.
“After July the 4th would be a good guess” for when that might occur, he said, but like so much in construction, that’s subject to weather delay.
The span replacement on the East Toledo side has required closing Miami Street beneath the bridge, shutting down a significant truck route between the Port of Toledo and I-75.
“Once the beams are set, we have safety work to do on the girders,” Mr. Geckle said, predicting that Miami will remain closed “until at least the end of June” and will have short-term closings after that when concrete is poured above it.
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