Mahoning County Bridge
By John E. Alexandrou, P.E., Transportation
Department Manager CT Consultants, Inc.
The Cemetery Bridge (White Bridge) over Yellow Creek in the
Village of Poland recently received the Outstanding Rehabilitated
Bridge Award from the Association for Bridge Construction and
Design. Honored were Richard A. Marsico, P.E., P.S., Mahoning
County Engineer, John E. Alexandrou, P.E., Transportation Department
Manager for CT Consultants, Inc., Soda Construction Company
and the Village of Poland.
This single span, bowstring arch bridge, with truss elements,
was constructed in 1877 by the renowned Wrought Iron Bridge
Company from Canton, Ohio. The bridge carried vehicular traffic
over Yellow Creek in the Village of Poland until its closure
in 1984. The "Historic American Engineering Record"
prepared by Frances A. Jones for the National Park Service states
that the Cemetery Bridge "is the only known example in
Ohio of William Rener's patented
oval wrought iron tubular arch design. Only two examples are
known to exist in the United States . . ." The bridge was
listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
The existing bridge deck is 126'-7" long x 18'-2"
wide between two wrought iron arches. The arches are composed
of two semi-elliptical sections, riveted to a flat plate. The
lower chords are composed of a pair of continuous plates (suspended
from the arches with star-shaped vertical tension hanger rods)
which support the floor system. There are fourteen panels between
arches and bottom chords, of which twelve are crossed by two
diagonal rods. Unique cast iron saddles are in place for connecting
the hanger rods and diagonals between the arches and bottom
chord plates. The lower chord plates taper down into threaded
rods at their extreme ends as they pass through a patented cast
iron bearing shoe. The shoe also receives the end of the arch
section. The floor system is composed of six longitudinal rolled
beam stringers which bear on thirteen king-posted floor beams.
Lateral bracing rods, in the plane of the bottom chords, are
attached to the ends of the floor beams. The stringers support
galvanized steel floor pans filled with asphalt. Above the deck,
overhead bracing is at three panel points consisting of angles
spanning between arches and diagonal bracing rods with an x-pattern
between. The bearing shoes and stringers are supported by the
original sandstone abutments constructed in 1877.
Upon the closure of the bridge, a committee of citizens from
the Village of Poland began working with the Mahoning County
Engineer's office and the Ohio Historical Society to initiate
an historic restoration of the structure.
CT Consultants, Inc. performed an in-depth visual inspection
of the Cemetery Bridge between November 8 and November 17, 1995.
All members were field measured for use in the rating analysis
calculations. The following major deficiencies were found:
- The stringers were in critical condition. Holes through
their webs warranted total replacement;
- The king-post tension rods had significant necking at their
connection with the floor beams (generally 50% to 60% section
loss). Floor beam 12 had one rod missing;
- Lateral bracing rods, in the plane of the arch lower chord,
had necking at their connection to the floor beams (about
33% section loss);
- The diagonal tension rods in the truss arch were in critical
condition due to necking at the lower connection points (generally
40% to 67% section loss);
- Several cast iron saddles on the arches were cracked;
- The sandstone subgrade supporting the east abutment was
highly jointed. Weathering resulted in dislocation of the
rock an average of 12" behind the face of abutment and
18" under the bottom course of sandstone blocks.
The rating analysis determined major steel replacement was
needed for the bridge to be re-opened for pedestrian and bicycle
traffic. The following items were incorporated into the rehabilitation
- Total deck surface replacement with 3" x 6" plank
wood floor (wolmanized southern yellow pine).
- Replacement of six stringers with six continuous W10 x 12
- Total replacement of 26 floor beam king-post rods with new
1" diameter A36 steel rods.
- Replacement of 15 one inch diameter diagonal rods and 11
U-bolts at the rod intersections.
- Replacement of two king-post struts.
- Replacement of five saddles at the connections of the diagonal
elements to the arch. Replacement of four saddles at the connection
of the vertical element to the arch.
- Replacement of 17 saddles bearing on the lower chord plates
for the vertical tension hanger connections to the lower chords.
- Miscellaneous repairs to wrought-iron superstructure elements.
- Removal of pack rust, sandblasting and field painting of
all new and existing superstructure steel.
- Removal of existing W-beam guardrail from the bridge and
replacing it with 2-1/2" I.D. pipe railing connected
to the arch verticals with U-bolts. Rail to conform to AASHTO
pedestrian rail requirements.
- Refurbishing the existing sandstone block abutments including
repointing the mortar joints, capping the blocks with a reinforced
concrete seat and backwalls, and constructing a reinforced
concrete fill to repair undermining of the forward abutment.
The completed plans were submitted to the Ohio Historical Society.
Their comments assured that the historically unique aspects
of the structure would be saved for future generations.
With a federal grant from the ISTEA Transportation Enhancement
Fund, the Cemetery Road Bridge Restoration was undertaken in
1999 by ODOT, the Mahoning County Engineer and the Village of
Soda Construction from Niles, Ohio began the restoration in
August and completed the project in November.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 18, 1999 ownership
of the Cemetery Bridge was transferred from Mahoning County
to the Village of Poland.
John E. Alexandrou, P.E.
Transportation Department Manger
CT Consultants, Inc.
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