One of the biggest bridge projects
in Butler County history is nearly complete and right on schedule,
according to Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens. A ceremonial
ribbon cutting was held today to commemorate the newly constructed
Liberty Fairfield Road bridge, which spans the Great Miami River
where four townships come together.
Officials from those
townships -- St. Clair, Madison, Fairfield, and Liberty -- along
with several State and local officials, joined Wilkens for this
morning's ceremony which capped a massive year and a half long
project that went very smoothly. The new bridge will open to
traffic this Thursday, crews will construct a new connecting
road to Canal Road, and can then begin the task of demolishing
the old bridge which sits about 300 feet downstream. (For local
access to adjacent streets during this final construction phase,
see the Traffic Advisory for Liberty Fairfield Road on the Road Closings page.)
"Despite the complexity
and huge scope of this project, we were able to keep traffic
flowing across the old bridge while this new structure was being
built," Wilkens said. "That was critical since this
is the only river crossing between Hamilton and Middletown. It
serves a growing area of residential and commercial development
and provides important access to the Trenton area. Keeping business
and commuter traffic flowing safely through the region is a top
Also attending the
celebration were Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jolene
Molitoris; ODOT District 8 Deputy Director Hans Jindal; Butler
County Commissioners Don Dixon, Greg Jolivette, and Chuck Furmon;
officials from the surrounding townships and the City of Trenton;
Butler County MetroParks Director Jonathon Granville; Rick Jones
and Jeff Darrah from Sunesis Construction; along with local historians
and representatives of the Woodsdale community.
of the Woodsdale Bridge Crossing
Records indicate that
this is the fourth bridge to be built over the Great Miami River
at the historic Woodsdale crossing. According to research by
historian Doris L. Page, who spoke at today's ceremony and authored
the 1994 book titled Woodsdale's Story, 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. Eventually the years
and the elements took a toll on the wooden bridge and it was
razed in 1900 to make way for an iron bridge.
Completed in 1901 and
costing a hefty $21, 750, the iron bridge was destroyed only
twelve years later by the historic 1913 flood.
Ms. Page writes in
her book: "It was....April 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 of 1916."
It is that bridge which
is being replaced today. The graceful 633-foot concrete closed
spandrel deck arch structure was rehabilitated in 1980 but has
gradually deteriorated, is built on a skewed alignment, and is
no longer practical for the increasing traffic volumes that flow
across its surface every day.
of a New Bridge
The Butler County Engineer's
Office first began studying replacement of the 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 funding issues,
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 initial plans were 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." This required the contractor
to utilize metric rulers and perform many conversions....a time-consuming
but necessary undertaking.
Liberty Fairfield Road Bridge
The new Liberty Fairfield
Road structure is built on an entirely new alignment that straightens
the roadway approaches to the bridge, thus eliminating the dangerous
curves encountered by motorists approaching from both sides,
but particularly on the north end where several S-curves had
contributed to numerous accidents. Traffic signals will also
be installed this fall just north of the bridge at the intersection
of Wayne Madison Road and Augspurger Road.
"This is first
and foremost about safety," Wilkens said at the new bridge
groundbreaking on February 25, 2008. "When completed, we
will have a new, safer bridge built to modern design standards
that will transport traffic smoothly and more efficiently."
That new, safer bridge
is now in place today. Here are some interesting facts about
Funding Saves Butler County Taxpayers
- Contractor: Sunesis Construction of West
- Funding: Federal, State, local BCEO
project length: 2,787
feet or 0.53 mile
54 feet above average
- Width/lanes: Designed to carry four lanes
of traffic. Will initially be striped for three lanes -- two
southbound and one northbound
continuous composite pre-stressed concrete I-beam with reinforced
concrete deck and reinforced concrete substructure
of reinforcing steel: 370
of asphalt (entire project length): 11,424
of pre-stressed concrete I-beams: 63
daily traffic count (2008): 18,000
vehicles per day (11 percent trucks)
green factoid: Over
100 new trees will be planted in the project area
Securing the revenue
for Butler County's biggest and most expensive bridge replacement
ever 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 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. Very
little local money is even being used for the $10 million project.
Here is a breakdown
of the funding:
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 based on original contract price (to be used as local match
Wilkens pointed out
at the 2008 groundbreaking: "As you can see, Butler County
is getting a $10.3 million bridge that is costing the local taxpayers
only $312,716. 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 sampling of photos,
including the ribbon cutting ceremony. For an extensive list
of bridge construction images, please visit the Liberty
Fairfield Road Bridge photo page.
- Click on images
- Original wooden
- 1915 bridge
being replaced by today's new bridge.
- Project plan
overlay. Red indicates new alignment.
- Liberty Fairfield
Road Bridge ground breaking.
- Pier construction.
- Setting beams.
- Near completion.
- Near completion.
- Near completion.
- County and
State officials flank local historian Doris Page as they prepare
for the ribbon cutting.
- The ribbon
has been cut and the new bridge is now official.
- County Engineer
Greg Wilkens, Doris Page, ODOT District 8 Deputy Director Hans
Jindal, ODOT Director Jean Molitoris.
- County Engineer
Greg Willkens with various local and State officials.
- Local historian
Doris Page on the new bridge with the old bridge in the background.
- ODOT District
8 Deputy Director Hans Jindal, County Engineer Greg Wilkens,
ODOT Director Jolene Molitoris.
- # # #
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