Keeping Butler County
roads safe and clear during treacherous winter weather can consume
a lot of hours by BCEO crews. But what about winters like this
where the second half has been virtually snow-free?
The same crews that
perform snow and ice control also complete general road maintenance
all year long. Even during brutally cold winter weather, crews
still execute major duties such as structural and roadway repairs,
drainage maintenance, and equipment maintenance and preparation.
Pothole repairs are also a significant duty when the late winter
Winter is also a time
of planning and preparation for the upcoming construction season.
With the construction bid for a new Howe Road bridge scheduled
to be awarded this spring, one BCEO crew has been working on
the production of sixteen pre-cast concrete beams. The new beams
will be used as decking for the bridge replacement project in
Since the procedure
is extensive and time consuming, a crew must begin in early winter
so that the beams can be completed on schedule. They begin by
erecting the concrete forms in which to place a steel cage, thus
creating steel reinforcement. Next, the concrete is poured and
must cure for seven days after which the crew strips the forms.
The crew then moves the completed beams to a storage lot where
they will remain until needed. As a result of the lengthy procedure,
the construction crew completes an average of two beams per week.
When Howe Road Bridge
construction begins, the sixteen beams will be transported to
the project site. Since the beams are extremely heavy, a crane
is needed to load them onto a flatbed truck. Depending on the
size of the beam, the average flatbed truck can transport two
beams at a time. Once the beams arrive at the site, another crane
is on site to remove them from the flatbed. Finally, each concrete
beam is put into place by the crane and serves as the decking
upon which guardrail and pavement are applied.
The pre-cast concrete
beams are estimated to have a life expectancy of fifty years.
Moreover, building them in-house is a cost-effective use of time,
materials, and labor during snow-free winter periods.