Spotlight on the Buchanan County, Iowa Secondary Roads Department

Buchanan County Bridge CrewOn January 8, 2014, employees of the Buchanan County, Iowa Secondary Roads Department found themselves the guests of honor at a dinner and reception with local officials and members of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (SSSBA). The celebratory event was held to recognize their work in rebuilding the Jesup South Bridge, the first project in the country to be constructed using the new short span steel bridge design tool eSPAN140. Project leader and County Engineer Brian Keierleber, P.E., summed it up by saying: “This type of recognition for County employees almost never happens.” (Read about the event in the Independence Bulletin Journal).

What was all the fuss about?  For residents, the big news was replacing the 22-ft.-wide original concrete bridge (built in 1947, with a sufficiency rating of less than 50) with a 40-ft.-wide span, making it much easier for cars and agricultural vehicles to get where they need to go. As taxpayers, they also realized significant savings with the use of the design tool SPAN140 and materials donated by SSSBA members who wanted to showcase the benefits of eSPAN140. (Read about the project here).

For County Engineer Brian Keierleber, the big news was significant time and cost savings on this high-profile project. When using the free, web-based eSPAN140 tool, Brian keyed in a few project parameters and received customized, cost-effective steel solutions for the new Jesup South Bridge in less than five minutes. This simple design process freed up more time for the planning and actual construction of the bridge, saving taxpayers’ money and providing a prototype for future projects.

For the actual bridge construction crew, the big news is that they were able to participate in building the bridge, while the county saved labor costs by using the local crew. The crew will also be the stars in a new training video that the SSSBA is putting together to introduce eSPAN140 and the step-by-step bridge-building process to county crews in other states. Feedback received from the Buchanan County employees is being used to develop the training video, which the SSSBA will use at industry conferences, Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) training events, and other bridge-related educational workshops.
You don’t need to wait for the training video to try eSPAN140. Go to and key in the parameters for one of your own projects, and see what you get. If you have technical questions, you can get free consultation from an expert at the Bridge Technology Center. If you just want more information about eSPAN140, you can visit the SSSBA website at or contact Dan Snyder at

Put yourself and your crew in the spotlight with cost and time savings gained with eSPAN140, where everyone wins.

About Rich Tavoletti

Rich Tavoletti is Director of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance. He is also Director of the Container Market program for the Steel Market Development Institute, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, and Executive Director of the Canned Food Alliance. Rich has extensive experience in marketing and communications. He was marketing manager at the Steel Recycling Institute. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at
This entry was posted in County Bridges, Iowa Demonstration, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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