The Bridge Street
Bridge Deployment Project ventured beyond the traditional
limits of infrastructure construction. Experimental in nature,
the project demanded extremely high quality materials and
workmanship obtained by special procurement measures.
In 1992, City of Southfield officials discovered that a large hole had developed in the deck of the Bridge Street Bridge over the Rouge River. Providing sole access to the Bridge Street Industrial Park Subdivision, the bridge carried an estimated 1,800 vehicles per day to over fifty light industrial businesses.
The City was faced with a challenge that is familiar to communities throughout Michigan and similar climates. The unrelenting Midwestern winter freeze-thaw cycles had taken their toll on the twenty-year-old Bridge Street Bridge. Although bridge deterioration is a common problem, the innovative solution is what sets this project apart.
Hubbell, Roth & Clark,
Inc. was commissioned as the consulting engineer to provide
investigatory, design, and construction management services.
After careful consideration and review of twenty-two potential
alternatives, the City elected to replace the original steel
and concrete Bridge Street Bridge with two parallel structures,
one of which was constructed of concrete reinforced almost
exclusively with Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP),
a non-metallic material that was used in place of traditional
steel. To date, there are few applications of CFRP in reinforced
concrete construction primarily because of limited knowledge
and research. Even more significant than the use of CFRP
in the Bridge Street Bridge is the extent to which it was
used. The design and construction of the Bridge Street Bridge
are extraordinary. There is no other bridge of this type
anywhere in the world.
The basis of design was the research conducted at Lawrence Technological University under the direction of Professor Nabil F. Grace, Ph.D. With his assistance and that of Professor George Abdel-Sayed of the University of Windsor, the project testing design and material procurement were successfully completed.
The extensive use of CFRP in the Bridge Street Bridge Deployment Project demanded an unusually high standard of quality for both materials and workmanship. Project funding was received from both State and Federal agencies in addition to the City's contributions and a citizen-approved special assessment. Open competitive bids were required for the project's general construction contract. The remainder of the project cost was borne directly by the City via individual procurement contracts with CFRP material suppliers and the contractors who would be dealing with the CFRP. This reformed buying practice, referred to as Quality Based Selection (QBS), allowed the City of Southfield to assemble a unique multi-national project team specifically qualified for the unusual and exacting demands of the project.