Butler County Engineer
Greg Wilkens reports that design and replacement of Allen Road
Bridge #00.697 will be accelerated due to its critical impact
on the local business community. The bridge, located just east
of Windisch Road in West Chester Township, was posted with a
20-ton load restriction in December after structural deficiencies
were discovered by BCEO bridge engineers. Replacement could begin
later this summer thanks to efforts by the Engineer's Office
and the Butler County Commissioners.
At Wilkens' request,
the Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the Allen Road
Bridge project an emergency. The resolution states that "the
County Engineer considers the load limit and the resulting limitations
of traffic a hardship on the traveling public" and that
the "bridge must be replaced as soon as possible. Whereas,
the Consultant Selection Process may be waived in cases of emergency
as described in the Ohio Revised Code," the resolution enables
Wilkens to expedite the design phase.
"What this means
is that we can bypass the conventional procedures required for
hiring a design consultant," Wilkens explained. "Design
and engineering of a new structure can begin almost immediately
so that we can get to the actual construction phase more quickly."
The bridge was originally slated for replacement in 2007, but
will now likely be under construction as early as this August.
The BCEO reallocated funding and revamped its 2004
project schedule to include the Allen Road Bridge replacement.
Modified -- Based On Axle Loading
of the Allen Road Bridge have provided more detail, thus allowing
the current 20-ton load restriction to be modified. Effective
today, new weight limits are posted based on maximum axle loading:
- 15 tons for single
- 21 tons for tandem
- 24 tons for triple
- 38 tons for tandem
axle semi-tractor trailer trucks.
Wilkens noted that
Allen Road is an essential roadway for commerce in the Township's
southern section. "A lot of trucks utilize that road,"
he said. "The modified weight limits will ease the current
restriction somewhat, but will prevent certain vehicles from
unsafely crossing the bridge." Wilkens emphasized that it
is still safe for passenger vehicles. "Obviously safety
is our number one concern. While posing a temporary inconvenience
to some, restricting certain types of loads will slow down further
deterioration of the structure. But ultimately it needs to be
replaced. Our staff is to be commended for finding a means to
work it into this year's schedule."
The existing bridge
is a narrow, steel truss structure built in 1956. It will be
torn down and replaced with a wider bridge designed to accommodate
future upgrades to Allen Road and the nearby Windisch Road intersection.
BCEO engineers say that the road will be closed for about three
months while the new bridge is built. A total project cost has
been estimated at $930,000, including design, right-of-way acquisition,