The Amish Sawmill Bridge on Dillon Avenue in Buchanan, Iowa, is about to get a new look and a lot of attention from the bridge design community, the steel industry and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Buchanan County Engineer Brian Keierleber submitted a proposal to replace the bridge with funding from the FHWA’s Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (IBRD) program. The $350,000 grant was awarded on the basis of using a trapezoidal bent steel girder section supported on Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS), technology endorsed by the members of the Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) Modular Steel Bridge Technical Working Group.*
The project will include the construction of GRS abutments with a sheetpiling face and the placement of trapezoidal bent plate beams on the GRS abutments. Stay-in-place forms will be utilized prior to casting a deck in place. The project will meet the stated goals of the IBRD program and the “Every Day Counts” initiative.”
With construction slated to begin in June 2013, this project will prove of particular interest to researchers at West Virginia University who are currently testing shallow steel press-brake tub girders to obtain data on the ultimate capacity of this system. The Amish Sawmill Bridge project will provide an opportunity to conduct field testing on the bent plate system in order to validate design assumptions and evaluate performance over the long term.
The payout for bridge designers, the steel industry and the FHWA is an economical, innovative new system that could significantly impact future best design practices.
* The members of the Modular Steel Bridge Technical Working Group include representatives from the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance, Steel Market Development Institute, National Steel Bridge Alliance, National Association of County Engineers, steel bridge fabricators, university faculty members, steel manufacturers, government organizations and bridge owners.