Elkhart County needed to replace a deteriorating bridge structure originally built in 1968. The structure carries County Road 17 over the St. Joseph River in Elkhart, Indiana. A support beam on the east side of the original structure was showing definite signs of wear. Until the bridge could be replaced, the county used traffic barrels to keep traffic off of the problem area.
In order to accommodate increased traffic in the area, it was determined that the new bridge must be wider than the old one. In fact, the new structure is not only wide enough to accommodate seven lanes of traffic - instead of the original four - but it also allows for 8-ft. of sidewalk on either side of the roadway. In addition, the newly installed structure eliminates a skew in the original roadway, making traffic safer and eliminating frequent car accidents in the area.
A 10-ft. wide x 461-ft. long - five spans of 90-ft. x 11-ft. 9-in. - BEBO® system T series with precast modular components promised cost efficiency and a quick installation. Traffic was maintained over the structure throughout the entire construction process.
“We have four other earth-filled concrete arch structures with an average age of 80 years,” said Tom Rushlow, Project Engineer with Elkhart County Highway. “The long life-span and low maintenance requirements we have experienced with this type of structure attracted us to the BEBO structure.”
In addition, located next to the five spans of the BEBO system is a 14-ft. x 11-ft. precast CON/SPAN® Bridge System with precast headwalls and wingwalls. This structure is the sixth span of the “Six Span” bridge and will be utilized as a pedestrian/bike underpass.
In January, traffic was routed from the original structure to the first phase of the new structure. Two lanes of the planned seven were opened on the new structure so that the original structure could be demolished. The next phase of the project will begin in the summer when the remaining portion of the new structure is constructed. The entire project is slated to be completed by Fall 2011.