Henry County in Northwest Ohio has a multitude of bridges on its county roads that need to be maintained. Each year, a few are selected to be rebuilt or restored. Due to the vast amount of bridges in the county, longevity of service life is crucial. Shutting down roads is not ideal for traveling residents, therefore, speed of construction is also important. Henry County and Mannik Smith Group (MSG), the project's engineer, solved both issues with a 57' x 10'-8" CON/SPAN® O-Series® Bridge System, 40' in length. The precast buried system was the best solution to replace the aging, multi-span steel beam bridge structure that originally crossed the Miami and Erie Canal.
The senior project manager of the project, Christopher Homan, from MSG stated, “Contech Engineer Solution’s staff of associates, engineers, and technicians provided MSG with top notch support beginning with preliminary design through construction of the project. Contech provided renderings, design loads, and product information regarding the new CON/SPAN structure. The project was required to be built in the summer utilizing Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) techniques since the detour routes are in the range of 20 miles, and it is a school route. Additionally, with the route part of the old Miami and Erie Canal and the current Buckeye Trail within the Defiance leg, it also required an aesthetic look. The MSG team of engineers worked closely with Henry County and Contech to design the structure. Overall, the system included precast arches, headwalls, wingwalls, high early strength concrete footings, and parapets. Due to poor canal bed soil conditions, it was supported on piles driven down to bedrock. The steel railings were designed to resemble canal lock gates.”
Since this was a buried bridge structure, it was backfilled after installation and before asphalting. This sturdy base provided less maintenance because it was not affected by the intense freeze/thaw cycle of the Midwest. Safety was also improved because the precast system will not freeze like traditional bridges. Being buried helps to keep the temperatures uniform and prevent icing over which can result in vehicle accidents.
This three-sided CON/SPAN® structure with detached headwalls and wingwalls, has an ashlar stone stained formliner finish, providing an attractive solution that blends well with its surroundings.
In 2017, the project won the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Ohio Outstanding Small Project Award.