Work begun on million dollar bridgePublished 4:57pm Wednesday, October 7, 2009
CASSOPOLIS – Construction crews were on site last week to begin laying stone dikes in Christiana Creek for the repair of the Redfield Street Bridge in eastern Ontwa Township.
Repairs will be done on each side of the wooden structure by diverting water from one side of the creek to the other, thus systematically isolating each side of the bridge from moving water.
The preparation, to be done according to regulations from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), will initially involve removal of all brush and guardrails in the bridge vicinity to free up room for the bridge repairs.
Lightweight vertical sheeting will be driven along the outlet side of the bridge to protect the structure while grouting is completed under it.
The sheeting below the bridge floor will be cut off and left in place.
The grout is expected to create a stable foundation for the bridge, said officials of the Cass County Road Commission.
Stone materials used in the dike then will be used to armor the creek upstream and downstream at the bridge.
Officials say that while the flow through the east side of the bridge is restricted, missing parts of the interior wood wall section will be replaced.
Also, several gaps in the wooden box structure’s ceiling will be closed off by installing wooden planking.
Once repairs are completed, the bridge will be re-evaluated by the bridge inspection firm that is under contract to the road commission to report on the soundness of the bridge and suggest any weight restrictions necessary.
Should the bridge be approved by the state for re-opening, the crews will install new guardrail and the affected section of Redfield – between Adamsville Road on the west and Cassopolis Road to the east, will be re-opened.
Most likely that would occur in late October.
The bridge, which normally carries about 2,500 vehicles a day on one of Cass County’s major primary roads, was closed in early June for safety reasons.
It was built in the mid 1970s and is one of only two all-wooden bridges remaining in the county, officials say.
Road commissioners several weeks ago approved repair expenditures not to exceed $70,250 without additional board authorization.
The road commission has applied to the state for critical bridge funds, a competitive process, for a new bridge.
But even if approved, those funds would not be available until 2012.
A new bridge is expected to cost approximately $1 million.