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Replacement of the Lane Avenue Bridge Franklin County, OH
David W. Jones, PE
Central Ohio

With football season fast approaching at The Ohio State University, one can just hear the legendary sportscaster, Keith Jackson saying “Whoa Nelly, what a beautiful fall day for college football in Columbus, Ohio.” To most of the 100,000 plus people returning each home game to Columbus, the new bridge on Lane Avenue (Champions Lane) will add to the excitement. While construction of the $15.6M bridge replacement project started in the summer of 2002, most of the visible progress has occurred after the past football season. The new bridge will be a two-span cable stayed bridge that will frame the west campus entrance to the university. Designed by Jones-Stuckey Ltd., Inc. under the direction of the Franklin County Engineers Office, this bridge is the crown jewel of the bridges along the Olentangy River. The CJ Mahan Construction Company of Grove City, Ohio City is constructing the bridge.

In replacing the historic arch bridges along the Olentangy at Third, King and Lane Avenues, the Franklin County Engineer, Dean Ringle, used the public involvement process to sculpt the bridges for the future in the area. In doing so, the County, in cooperation with the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks, is revitalizing the river corridor by giving the public access to additional green space in an urban environment. This investment of public funds is expected to yield high civic value to the surrounding neighborhoods, which are enjoying a revival. The County leveraged local funds with Ohio Public Works Commission funds and federal funds to create this project.

While the main function of the bridge will be to carry six lanes of traffic, handling pedestrian traffic around the University was a major concern. Two 12' 6" sidewalks will handle the surface pedestrian traffic while four circular staircases make it possible to safely move under the bridge without crossing the six lanes of traffic. The staircases provide for a bicycle track to allow cyclists to walk their bikes to the Olentangy Trail. The two 200 foot spans with the split towers open the underside of the bridge to create a highly visible and safe environment for the pedestrians.

The two symmetrical towers are 118 feet above the roadway surface and 160 feet above the footing. Each tower anchors ten stays. The steel tower anchorages, weighing 48 tons, were the heaviest steel pieces galvanized to date in the United States. The superstructure is composed of reinforced concrete post-tensioned edge girders that support a composite reinforced concrete deck and transverse welded plate floor beams. The 76-foot long welded plate girders were galvanized by double dipping the girders. High durability, a life span of greater than 100 years and low maintenance were three of the many goals of the project. All materials and details were studied to maximize these goals. The reinforced concrete deck will be post-tensioned longitudinally and transversely and be composed of high performance concrete. Stainless steel sconces and precast architectural panels designed by Mark Sherman, the County Deputy Engineer, in addition to specially designed lighting will be featured on the bridge. Mr. Sherman is a past president of the Central Ohio Section. The bridge is scheduled to be open for traffic on November 15, 2003.

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