After officials discovered a design flaw in the newly completed structure and had to tear it down, the bridge over 50 North has been reconstructed and is once again open to traffic.
The bridge, which will carry traffic over the U.S. 31 bypass, was constructed earlier this year, but was closed in June and had to be demolished.
Harry Maginity, with the Indiana Department of Transportation, said the cost of the repairs was covered by an insurance company representing the Indiana firm Jansen & Spaans Engineering.
“It was a design flaw,” Maginity said. “It was a big oops. The engineering company and their insurance carrier made it right. There was no hesitation on their part.”
The original structure, which was built by R.L. McCoy Construction, cost an estimated $3 million and the deck replacement, performed by Walsh Construction, which was already working at the location, cost an additional $966,000.
The concrete deck had to be replaced because the weight restriction at the time of construction was 11 tons, not rated high enough for loaded school buses. The specification was for an unrestricted weight limit on the bridge.
“There is not much of a difference between dead weight and live weight,” Maginity said. “The engineering company designed the bridge for the dead weight.”
Maginity said dead weight is considered the weight of a bridge structure without traffic crossing the span.
“McCoy built the bridge as designed,” he said. “Over the long haul, the bridge would have had a weight restriction.”
Maginity said there was never a safety issue.
He said the contract for replacing the deck required that the same beams had to be utilized to reduce the cost of the reconstruction.
Because the bridge beams had a rounded, instead of a flat surface, it took a long time to remove the concrete without damaging the beams.
Because of the weight restriction and reconstruction, the Northwestern School Corp. had to alter some bus routes. However, Harold Seamon, assistant superintendent, said with the weight restriction removed the school system can again route buses over the 50 North bridge.
“It was a little bit of an inconvenience,” said Seamon. “There have been several road closings in the area and we try to adapt as best we can. The state has been good about notifying us.”