THE CONCRETE BRIDGE MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2007

ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.

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34 | ASPIRE , Summer 2007 A E S T H E T I C S C O M M E N T A R Y by Frederick Gottemoeller The Veterans' Glass City Skyway has to be understood frst of all as an expression of civic will and civic pride. The project aims to do more than build a bridge, as important as that bridge might be. Of course, the project will relieve traffc congestion caused by the original routing of I-280 across the Craig Memorial Bridge. However, it will also reconnect neighborhoods that were severed when I-280 was built, catalyze the shoreline development and redevelopment of an important stretch of the Maumee River, and give Toledo, Ohio, and all northwestern Ohio a new symbol of growth and optimism. Public agencies are often unwilling to accept project objectives beyond the narrowest possible defnition of functional transportation. The Ohio Department of Transportation and local communities are to be congratulated for recognizing that a major transportation facility in an urban area is an inseparable element of the urban fabric, that it, therefore, facilitates (or inhibits) transportation, land use, urban design, and symbolic functions; and that efforts to improve all of these functions are legitimate uses of public transportation funds. With this in mind, the community helped to defne parameters for both the bridge and for the areas below and beside it. Parks are being built as integral parts of the project to fll the land areas vacated by I-280 and the area directly below the bridge. By providing centers of positive activity and attractive amenities, the parks will stitch together the severed neighborhoods and provide an impetus for their improvement and redevelop- ment. They also will provide an attractive backdrop for the bridge itself. The choice of segmental concrete box girders for the approaches supports the desired park development. The girders provide a smooth, solid, and light colored "ceil- ing" for the spaces in the park. The wide overhangs and the light color will promote the penetration of sunlight into the parks. The box girders allow piers with single, slim shafts that keep views through the parks open and unobstructed. The piers have been provided with graceful capitals that allow the shaft to stay thin while still accommodating two bearings at the top. That brings us to the main span itself, and here the shift is from the neighborhood scale to the scale of the Maumee River, the city itself, and indeed all of the locations from which the bridge and its pylon are visible. The frst thing to notice is that the deck girder is the same size and shape as the approach girders, so that the one fows smoothly into the other, and the entire bridge seems of a single piece. The second thing is how the tapered facets of the lower part of the tower simulate the piers of the nearby drawbridge, creating a similar image of graceful mass and solid support. The third thing to notice is how these facets smoothly transition above the deck into a needlelike tower made to appear even thinner by the vertical lighted glass. The details of the tower show that this is accomplished while still keeping the load-bearing elements of the tower structurally effcient. The full impact of the pylon will be at night when the lighting is functioning, making it even more memorable. Finally, to fully understand the impact of the bridge one has to shift scales once again, to the scale of the whole greater Toledo region; everywhere within the advertising reach of the Toledo newspapers and broadcasting stations. The region's residents will see frequent images of the bridge in newspaper articles, in backgrounds of TV shots and in advertising brochures. It will become a symbol of the place where they live and, in some small way, part of their own self-image. It will also be recognized as a symbol of the Toledo region when it appears in national media. The Veterans' Glass City Skyway will join Boston's Zakim Bridge and Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway as new bridges that are now nationally recognized symbols of the places where they were built. Each fixture is individually controllable via computer software and can produce up to 16.7 million different colors, giving the Toledo community the ability to select both static and moving light displays to mark any holiday or special event. Various color schemes are preprogrammed such as red and green for the Christmas holidays and red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July. Possibilities include showcasing regional sport team's colors on two sides of the pylon until game time and rewarding the victor with the entire pylon in their colors. The ideas and options for pylon lighting colors are nearly endless, providing Toledo with their much-desired landmark bridge to celebrate their city and industrial heritage. Cast in Concrete On January 15, 2002, ODOT opened bids for the project and subsequently awarded the construction contract to Fru-Con Construction Corporation (now Bilfinger Berger Civil, Inc.) for $220 million, making the new river crossing and its surrounding contracts the largest project ever undertaken by ODOT. Construction work began in earnest in the spring 2002, with the establishment of a casting yard to produce 3050 precast concrete elements, including 42 concrete delta frames, required for the approach, ramp, and main span. An average of 35 segments was cast each week during reasonable temperatures, 25 per week during cold weather. Approximately 32.6 million pounds of reinforcing steel and 1.9 million pounds of post-tensioning strand have been incorporated into the 185,000 cu yd of concrete to make Toledo's landmark bridge a reality. On December 20, 2006, the final two segments were placed in the main span. The final main span closure on February 16, 2007, made the 8800-ft-long bridge continuous from end-to-end. Plans are being made by the MRC task force and ODOT for a ribbon cutting and opening of the bridge. The end is in sight—and it's shining brightly. Traffic is anticipated on Toledo's postcard-perfect bridge by summer 2007. ____________________________ Michael Gramza is Project Manager with the Ohio Department of Transportation and Jeff Walters is Regional Director with FIGG. For more information on this or other projects, visit www.aspirebridge.org. ASPIRE_Summer_2007.indb 34 5/15/07 11:42:37 AM

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