officials gathered this morning to break ground for what will
be the County's biggest bridge replacement in recent memory.
Construction is set to begin next week on the new Liberty Fairfield
Road bridge which crosses the Great Miami River halfway between
Hamilton and Middletown. It is the only river crossing in that
part of the County.
- Liberty Fairfield
Road Bridge ground breaking. Click to enlarge.
The new structure will
be built on an entirely new alignment that will straighten the
roadway approaches to the bridge, thus eliminating the dangerous
curves now encountered by motorists approaching from both sides,
but particularly on the north end where several S-curves have
contributed to numerous accidents. "This is first and foremost
about safety," said Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens.
"When completed, we will have a new, safer bridge built
to modern design standards that will transport traffic smoothly
and more efficiently."
Charles Furmon echoed Wilkens' emphasis on safety. "Traffic
on Liberty Fairfield and Wayne Madison Roads has increased substantially
with new residential and commercial development north and south
of the bridge. It is imperative that we maintain a safe river
crossing at this location." Furmon also added that this
project will serve to improve economic development opportunities
in the Trenton area. "Butler County's business-friendly
reputation takes another step forward with this project as we
make lands north of the river more easily accessible," he
said. "Due to the strategic location of this bridge, the
movement of goods and services becomes more efficient making
the Trenton area even more attractive to new and existing businesses."
Furmon and Engineer Wilkens, also on hand for the ground breaking
were Commissioners Don Dixon and Greg Jolivette, Ohio Department
of Transportation (ODOT) District 8 Deputy Director Hans Jindal,
Butler County MetroParks Director Jonathan Granville, and Paul
Limpert and Dennis Cooper from Sunesis Construction.
noted that this $10.3 million project is being built with only
$312,716 in local money. The remainder of the funding is a combination
of state and federal grant money obtained by the Engineer's Office
through ODOT and the County Engineer's Association of Ohio. (See
funding details below.) "Congratulations to Mr. Wilkens
and his team for their hard work on this project and for developing
the means to fund such an expensive undertaking," Dixon
Funding Saves Butler County Taxpayers
Securing the revenue
for what will not only be Butler County's biggest bridge replacement
but its most expensive, was the most substantial hurdle to overcome,
according to Wilkens. Through the efforts of an experienced Engineer's
staff several outside funding sources were identified, lengthy
and time-intensive applications were put together, and eventually
the means to pay for such an expensive project came together.
The funding breakdown
is as follows:
Right-of-Way / Pre-Construction
- $1,000,000 = State
- $5,000,000 = Federal
funds through the County Engineer's Association of Ohio
- $4,000,000 = Federal
funds through the Ohio Department of Transportation
- $1,000,000 = State
OPWC funds (to be used as local federal match money)
- $312,716 = Local BCEO
funds (to be used as local match money)
"As you can see,
Butler County is getting a $10.3 million bridge that is costing
the local taxpayers only $312,716," Wilkens reiterated.
"In today's climate of increasingly limited road and bridge
construction revenues, we think this is a significant accomplishment.
We are pleased to present our citizens with such a bargain."
and Maintenance of Traffic
A construction contract
for the project was awarded to Sunesis Construction of West Chester
Township which submitted a low bid of $10,312,716. Crews will
begin clearing and grubbing in early March with utility relocations
starting by mid-April. Full bridge construction will get under
way this summer and take about one year to complete.
Traffic can be maintained
across the existing bridge during construction since the new
structure will be built on an entirely new alignment approximately
300 feet upstream. That should be good news for local motorists,
according to Wilkens. "The only closure will occur when
the new bridge is completed and we tie the existing road in with
the new roadway approaches. That is scheduled for August of 2009
and should only take about a week." Once traffic is shifted
onto the new bridge, demolition of the old bridge will begin
with the entire project wrapping up in late September 2009, weather
The new bridge structure
will be an 818-foot seven-span continuous composite pre-stressed
concrete I-beam designed to carry four lanes of traffic. Initially
however it will be striped for three lanes -- two southbound
and one northbound. Upon completion, over 100 trees will be planted
in the project area which stretches from the hill on the south
river bank to the Augspurger / Wayne Madison Road intersection
on the north side. Liberty Fairfield Road becomes Wayne Madison
Road north of the river.
of the Woodsdale Bridge
The new bridge will
replace a 633-foot concrete closed spandrel deck arch that, according
to BCEO bridge records, was built in 1930 and rehabilitated in
1980. However, research by local historian Doris L. Page indicates
that the bridge may have been built earlier. In her 1994 book
titled Woodsdale's Story, she writes:
- Existing Liberty
Fairfield Road Bridge #03.803. Click to enlarge.
of 1915 that bids for replacement of Woodsdale's bridge were
studied.... The contract for a concrete bridge was awarded to
Cleary & White Construction Company of Chicago in the amount
of $76,784. The plan used was one designed by J.B. Hunley. Payments
to Cleary & White were made in August, September, October,
November, and December of 1915, with final payments made in February
Page points out in
her book that the bridge was built to replace a 1901 iron bridge
twelve years later by the 1913 flood. That bridge cost $21,750
- Original wooden
covered bridge. Click to enlarge.
A wooden covered bridge
originally occupied this location. Built in the mid- to late
1850s, the covered bridge eventually became known as the Augspurger
Bridge because of Samuel Augspurger's influence in its construction
and subsequent repairs, according to Page. Eventually the years
and the elements took a toll on the wooden bridge and it was
razed in 1900 to make way for the iron bridge.
of a New Bridge
The Butler County Engineer's
Office first began studying replacement of the current bridge
in the early 1990s. Preliminary plans were drawn up and presented
at a public meeting in June of 1998. As these plans were being
modified, numerous hurdles had to be cleared, including the funding
mechanisms noted above, significant environmental protection
studies, flood plain volume compensation, how to handle fill
compaction on the project's north side, and right-of-way negotiations.
One other significant
factor is that the plans are in metric. "Design and engineering
kicked off during a short window of time in the 1990s when the
federal government required projects with federal funding to
be in metric," said BCEO Engineering Deputy Dale Schwieterman.
"To convert back to English would have required an expensive
re-do of the plans. Unfortunately, it may make construction a
bit more tedious since the contractor will need metric rulers
and many items will require conversion."
when he noted that motorists need not fear -- while this may
be a metric bridge, speed limits will be posted in miles per
hour versus kilometers per hour.
# # #
- Click on images
- Existing bridge
- northbound approach.
approach - S-curves to be eliminated.
- Aerial view
- S-curves to be eliminated.
- Aerial - view
- Aerial - view
- Project plan
overlay. Red indicates new alignment.
For more information
Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S.,
Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 Fax 513.867.5849