Hassle-Free Bridge Rehab

by Charles A. Baumgartner, Manager; Structural Dept., HNTB, Cleveland, OH,
Kenneth Ishmael, Manager; Construction Services, HNTB, Cleveland, OH,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 9, Pg. 44-47

Document Type: Feature article


Engineers involved in Cleveland's Main Bridge rehab invoked whatever was necessary to keep area traffic moving and the bridge closure period to a minimum. They helped change state laws forbidding incentive/disincentive construction, transferred shop drawings approval from state to local control, assembled a value engineering team, and took a proactive approach to traffic management. After more than 50 years of service, the Main Avenue Bridge needed major repairs. Taking the major link between downtown and the city's west side out of service could produce a traffic nightmare. Minimizing public inconvenience would be a high priority of any rehabilitation project. The bridge, built in 1940, is near the Lake Erie shoreline. The 6,500 ft-long structure carries 49,000 vehicles a day across the Cuyahoga River Valley in six lanes. Since 1984, bridge repair costs have averaged about $80,000 per year. The structure needed major rehabilitation work such as: Replacing the existing deck and stringers with a new widened deck, providing the transverse deck cross slope and/or superelevation as required (much of the present alignment is horizontally curved and transversely level), adding new sealed joints, and replacing the drainage system and all structurally deficient and functionally obsolete members.

Subject Headings: Traffic management | Bridge management | Bridges | Rehabilitation | Bridge decks | Value engineering | Curvature | Drainage systems | Lake Erie | Great Lakes

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