Part of road closing to through traffic for months for ‘major’ bridge work

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

WASHINGTON TWP. – Motorists may want to avoid a section of West Alex Bell Road until around Christmas.

West Alex Bell is set to close Monday from Mad River to McEwen roads to through traffic for about 120 days due to bridge construction, according to the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office.

The 33-year-old bridge, which spans Holes Creek, is scheduled for “major rehabilitation” as part of a $731,124 project, county officials said. The nearly half-mile stretch handles a daily average of about 10,000 vehicles.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Detour signs will direct drivers around the construction using Yankee Street, Ohio 725 and McEwen, officials said.

The 32-foot bridge’s superstructure has “deteriorated rapidly over the past several years” and is classified as “structurally deficient,” according to the county. Its posted with a load limit of 15 tons for a 2-axle truck and 20 tons for a semi-truck.

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“The concrete deteriorated and exposed the prestressing strands at the bottom of the beams,” county Engineer Paul Gruner said in an email. “These strands are high strength cables that can detour rapidly. As they deteriorate, they expand and spall off more concrete. The rusted strands provide no load carrying capacity, thus the load limit.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

The bridge has a condition rating of 4 on a 9 scale, and its sufficiency rating is 21 out of 100, county records show.

“The deterioration is caused by water and water with chlorides from deicing salt that leak through joints in the beams,” according to Gruner.

“We decided to rehabilitate the bridge, primarily by replacing the beams, before we needed to close it due to its condition,” he added. “Details of these joints and waterproofing over the beams have been improved over the years. But we have taken an extra step of placing a concrete slab over the top of the beams in the proposed new bridge.”

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Eagle Bridge Co. of Sidney was the low bidder on the construction project, which will be fully paid for by funding obtained from the Ohio Public Works Commission, county officials said.

The project will replace the existing prestressed concrete box beams, add a concrete deck, and minor repairs and patching of the abutments and piers will be necessary, according to the county.

Concrete approach slabs are planned to be built on both sides of the bridge.

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