ODOT Refines Inventory of Under-Deck Truss Bridges

Sat August 25, 2007 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

In the days following the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) — in cooperation with the state’s county engineers — has been able to refine its inventory of 181 similarly-built bridges to target 16 bridges which most resemble the same under-deck truss design of the I-35W Bridge.

The narrowed list includes 12 bridges under ODOT’s authority, three bridges under county authority and one bridge under municipal authority. The significantly reduced number is a result of eliminating through-truss and “pony-truss” bridges from the county list.

Locations of the 12 ODOT-maintained bridges:

• I-90/Innerbelt, SR 2/Main Avenue, U.S. 42/W. 25th over Train Avenue, and SR 10/Lorain-Carnegie in Cuyahoga County

• I-471/5th Avenue Viaduct in Hamilton County

• I-71 North and I-71South in Warren County

• I-90 East and I-90 West in Lake County

• SR 8 in Summit County

• U.S. 22 in Fairfield County

• SR 124 in Washington County

Locations off the State Highway System:

• North Second Street over the Railroad in Ironton in Lawrence County

• Old SR 8/North Main Street in Akron in Summit County

• County Road 77/Rushville Road in Richland Township in Fairfield County

• County Road 843/Willard Road in Franklin Township in Columbiana County

Bridge inspectors are in the process of re-visiting seven of the 12 ODOT-maintained bridges. Two bridges were previously inspected. The remaining bridges have either been recently inspected or are scheduled for inspection by the end of September.

On Aug. 8, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said that investigators in Minneapolis have observed a design issue with gusset plates at particular locations on the remains of I-35W Bridge. Gusset plates are steel plates that tie steel beams together. Officials in Washington said no conclusions have been reached. ODOT has been in contact with the Federal Highway Administration and is awaiting more information on this latest report.

ODOT currently includes gusset plates as part of its statewide bridge inspection training program. This unique training follows a 1996 incident on the I-90 East Bridge in Lake County, where deteriorated gusset plates buckled during a painting project. The bridge was temporarily closed while the gusset plates were strengthened.

Ohio law requires that every bridge in the state be inspected every year. During the annual inspections of steel truss bridges, the condition of the entire structure, including connections such as gusset plates, is thoroughly examined and recorded by ODOT’s trained bridge specialists.

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