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Construction Slated for 2014 Lesner Bridge
April 1st, 2013 4:28 PM

Construction for New Lesner Bridge Slated for 2014

Construction for a new road project to replace the aging Lesner Bridge will begin in January 2014.
ILesnerBridgeRendering.jpgn the 1950s and ‘60s, when the Lesner Bridge was constructed, bridges were built to last about 50 years. With updates and repairs, the Lesner has managed to make it to the ripe age of 55, but the time has come to replace it with a newer, stronger, safer structure.
“Though not in the best shape, the current bridge is safe,” says David Jarman, project management supervisor for the public works department. “We are not implementing weight limits or any other restrictions — we just needed to start thinking about replacing the Lesner Bridge before doing so became an urgent need. We’ve made repairs over the years to extend its useful life, so there’s no need for people to be concerned about structural integrity.”
Construction will commence January 2014 to replace the bridge in a project that stretches westward from Vista Circle to East Stratford Road on the opposite bank. Two precast concrete bridges will replace the existing span and work is expected to last approximately three years. 
The current Lesner Bridge consists of 1,530-foot-long twin bridges with 28 spans. It carries an average of 43,000 vehicles a day. The new bridge will have just nine spans and will be 10 feet higher, making the waterway leading into the bay more navigable for larger vessels.
Allowances for multi-modal transportation are among some of the major improvements in the design of the new bridges. Project renderings reveal accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians via a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path on the outside edge of each bridge. Walls will separate these paths from vehicle traffic.
“A lot of people are asking if the new bridges will have provisions for light rail,” Jarman says. “What we have are provisions for expanding from four lanes to six lanes in the future. We’re building it with space for expansion, but we can’t know at this point exactly what that will entail.”
According to Jarman, construction should not have a significant impact on traffic flow. The goal is to maintain all four lanes during
construction, however there may be times when it is necessary to have temporary lane
closures. Crews will do their best to make sure these closures, if needed, take place at night or during off hours.
The speed limit on Shore Drive will remain 35 mph during the course of construction, but will likely drop to 25 mph while vehicles cross the bridge. Once construction is complete, the speed limit on the bridge will once again be 35 mph and through the entire corridor.
Unlike the current Lesner Bridge, the new bridge is intended to last between 100 and 120 years, possibly more, says Jarman. New building technologies and materials will improve upon the integrity of the bridge, allowing it to last longer, even in a harsh, marine environment. Jarman says they will be using a different kind of steel, corrosion resistant reinforcing steel and low permeability concrete that doesn’t allow water to wick into the concrete as it did in the current bridge.
Jarman compares the construction process to holding together a large stack of books. “We’ll take individual segments of precast concrete and put maybe 10 of them together at the same time and then run cables through the center and tighten it. Once we’ve tightened 10 of these together, functionally, we’ll have a single segment that gives us an entire span that acts as one big unit. We’ll keep doing that for multiple spans across the water. This method is what gives a bridge its strength.”
The entire project is expected to cost about $95 million. Both construction and right-of-way acquisition are being funded through the governor’s transportation plan.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,MRP,SFR on April 1st, 2013 4:28 PMPost a Comment

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