By DENISE GRANT
The Osborn Avenue bridge in Findlay, used by nearly 5,500 vehicles per day, will be replaced in 2017, according to the Hancock County Engineer’s Office.
Steve Wilson, project manager with the engineer’s office, said it will take about six months to replace the bridge. Traffic will be detoured to Blanchard Street or Bright Road during construction.
Wilson said the concrete beams of the bridge are deteriorating rapidly.
The bridge was constructed in 1965 and was one of the first in Ohio to use prestressed concrete box beams, Wilson said.
“The methods used to waterproof concrete beams at that time were not as sophisticated as we have today, so over the years, rainwater has penetrated the concrete and caused deterioration of both the concrete and reinforcing steel,” he said.
On Jan. 30, the county commissioners approved a $109,450 contract with Poggemeyer Design Group, Bowling Green, to design the new bridge.
Since the bridge is over the Blanchard River, Wilson said engineers will coordinate with the Army Corps of Engineers to limit flood damage. The existing bridge was designed so the bottom of the beams were just above the height of the 1959 flood.
Building a new approach road and a bridge above flood level would be more expensive, Wilson said.
“The span of the bridge needs to be longer under this circumstance to keep the water moving downstream,” he said.
“If the community can tolerate having floodwater cover the approach road or bridge for a short period of time, the bridge can be smaller, reducing the cost,” Wilson said.