Beach Road Lagoon Drawbridge
Oak Bluff, MA United States | 2009
A plaque on the site commemorates this as the first fully hot-dip galvanized bridge in the United States. In 1966, then Ottawa County Engineer Frank Brechting, Jr. decided to "break the mold" and try hot-dip galvanized steel, not to make history, but simply because it was the most economical decision for the future.
Thanks to Brechting's foresight, the residents of Ottawa County are still reaping the rewards. The county bridge, which is 420 ft (128 m) long is constructed of eight spans of hot-dip galvanized steel sections. In addition to the superstructure, Brechting also chose to galvanize all fasteners, handrails, diaphragms, shear connectors, and fittings.
When hot-dip galvanized steel was chosen based on it's low life-cycle cost, Brechting had only considered a 25-year life. However, that economic payoff is still being realized today after more than 50 years of service. The bridge was inspected both in 1991, after 25 years of life and in 2017, after 51 years. Both inspections showed the bridge was in excellent shape with no signs of rusting or staining on the superstructure. The handrail does have some signs of staining, but mil readings still show plenty of zinc coating (3.31 mils) present. Based on the readings in 2017, the galvanized steel components on the bridge are not expected to require any maintenance for at least another 70 years - easily surpassing the 100-year bridge life desired today.
Watch the video above, or read more about the bridge in the article Still Strong, published in Roads & Bridges in 2018.
Bridge & Highway
Ottawa County, MI United States
Coating Durability, Initial Cost, Life-Cycle Cost
two 60-foot & six 50-foot sections of 108-lb rolled steel beams, fasteners, handrails, diaphragms, shear connectors, and fittings
Frank J. Brechting, Jr.
Ottawa County Road Commission
Raff & Dexter Contractors
AZZ Galvanizing - Canton
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