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NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
Aug. 4, 2003

'Fast Track' Bridge Marks New Era in Ohio Construction

(CIRCLEVILLE) Ohio Department of Transportation Director Gordon Proctor today opened a new bridge in Circleville that could eventually change the way bridges are built across Ohio.

"ODOT is dramatically reducing the inconvenience of road closures for thousands of Ohio motorists using innovative materials and contracting techniques," Proctor said.

The 45-year-old, six-span bridge on U.S. Route 22 was completed in 50 days under ODOTs new "Fast Track" bridge program. Using traditional methods, the bridge would have taken 12 to 18 months to complete.

The pilot program uses prefabricated materials, faster concrete curing methods and contractor incentives and disincentives to speed the pace of construction. The U.S. 22 bridge was the second project in Ohio completed under the pilot program 19 projects have been identified statewide.

"If the program proves successful, it could have enormous implications for the reconstruction of our interstate system," said Proctor. "We've rebuilt about one-third of Ohio's interstate over the past decade, but two-thirds remain. If we can find ways to build these bridges faster, we can dramatically reduce delays for millions of motorists."

Proctor said many bridge components, such as the decks and piers on the U.S. 22 bridge, can be manufactured off site and "snapped" into place when crews are ready. In addition, steel forms can remain as part of the structure, eliminating the time needed to remove traditional wooden forms.

Money was also a factor in completing the work faster. ODOT attached incentives and disincentives worth up to $50,000 a day to ensure timely completion. The Ruhlin Co. completed the work 10 days ahead of schedule, despite heavy rain and flooding, and will receive $500,000 for early completion.

"It costs ODOT more to build bridges faster, but it could save motorists millions more in lost time, fuel and other associated costs," said Jack Marchbanks, deputy director for ODOT District 6.

Marchbanks said ODOT also paid an extra $51,000 to establish a temporary emergency squad on the west side of the bridge to maintain quick emergency access for residents.

Residents will have access to a new, more durable bridge with galvanized steel to withstand flooding and wider shoulders for larger loads, beginning Monday. Sidewalks have also been added for pedestrians and cyclists.