The Gazette - Innovative Bridge Project to Save County Money

JESUP -- A bridge south of Jesup on County Road V-65 will be replaced as part of a demonstration project showcasing the advantages of a new design software developed to reduce the cost of bridge construction.

"This is an opportunity to participate in a project that will have major cost savings for the residents of Buchanan County in the short term and will develop a process to have major cost savings in the long term," said Buchanan County Engineer Brian Keierleber, who is spearheading the project.

The demonstration project, with participation from several steel bridge vendors, will enable Buchanan County to get a $240,000 bridge for less than $100,000, Keierleber said.

The software, eSPAN140, developed by the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance -- a trade group promoting the advantages of steel bridges 140 feet or less in length -- also has greatly reduced the county's design expense, Keierleber said.
"You enter all your specifications, and it outputs an array of detailed design options," he said.

About 4,360 vehicles cross the bridge, between Jesup and four-lane Highway 20, each day, according to Iowa Department of Transportation statistics. V-65, a conduit for traffic entering Highway 20 and Interstate 380, "is the busiest county road in Buchanan County," Keierleber said

The existing 22-foot-wide concrete bridge, built in 1947, has a sufficiency rating of less than 50, and was on the county's list of bridges due for replacement.

It will be replaced with a 40-foot-wide bridge with galvanized steel beams and galvanized rebar. Removal of the existing bridge will begin Tuesday, with completion slated for late October. Arrangements have been made with Black Hawk County to detour traffic on Wooster Road up to Spring Creek Road to Indian Creek Road (240th Street), then back to V-65 (Benson Shady Grove) during the bridge demolition and new bridge construction.

Interested parties can follow the progress of the bridge, including its fabrication, delivery and live camera installation, on the SSSBA blog at www.shortspansteelbridges.org.

Keierleber said some county engineers will follow the project, but most of the viewers likely will be people inconvenienced by the detour.