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Published: Friday, 6/11/2004

Steel beams delay I-75/I-280 ramp work

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Work on a ramp at the I-280/I-75 interchange will be delayed at least a month because four steel beams were found to have a defect. State highway officials said the beams were fabricated using plans drafted by a consulting engineer. Work on a ramp at the I-280/I-75 interchange will be delayed at least a month because four steel beams were found to have a defect. State highway officials said the beams were fabricated using plans drafted by a consulting engineer.
MORRISON / BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Something about the four big steel beams for a new ramp bridge within the I-75/I-280 interchange in North Toledo didn't look right to the state inspectors at the construction site.

As it turned out, they were correct: the beams didn't have an appropriate amount of camber - or vertical curvature - necessary for them to end up level after the weight of a reinforced concrete deck was added on top of them.

Camber is not ordinarily checked in the field, Ohio Department of Transportation officials said this week. But in this case, field measurements revealed the problem.

"The good thing is we caught it before we had a bridge that had a sag in the middle of it," said Todd Audet, ODOT's district deputy director in Bowling Green.

The bridge in question is on the ramp from northbound I-280 to southbound I-75. While its completion has been pushed back by at least a month, the

impact on traffic likely will be minimal since motorists are using a temporary ramp until the new ramp opens.

The four beams were placed on the new bridge's abutments before the defect was discovered. On Tuesday night, one of them was removed and trucked to a plant where an attempt will be made to heat it and then bend it to the desired camber.

If that works, the others will be taken down and modified similarly, Joe Rutherford, an ODOT spokesman, said.

"We should have an answer early next week," he said. "If the answer is 'No,' then we'll have to come up with a Plan B."

No cost estimates for re-treating the beams or, if necessary, replacing them was available yesterday.

The cause for the error remains to be determined, Mr. Rutherford said. But he then said the beams were fabricated in accordance with plans drafted by a consulting engineer for the project, Bergmann Associates of Sylvania.

"We're aware of the issue, and we are working with ODOT to expedite the solution," said John Wenderlich, a Bergmann spokesman, who declined to say whether the firm is accepting responsibility.

The I-280/I-75 interchange has been undergoing reconstruction since early last year, with completion scheduled for November.

Contact David Patch at:

dpatch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6094.



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