by Laura Bednar
Replacement of the Meadowbrook Boulevard bridge is scheduled to begin in late summer or early fall.
In addition to replacing the bridge that spans Hemlock Creek, construction will include minor stream bank stabilization on the east side of the creek, immediately upstream and downstream of the bridge, according to engineer Don Ramm.
Independence City Council approved Schirmer Construction to perform the work for $439,800. This project will use a design-build method, rather than the typical design-bid-build method the city has utilized in the past.
A design-bid-build method begins with an engineer creating a preliminary project design. A final design is developed before putting the project out to bid. Once a contractor is chosen, construction can begin.
Design-build starts with defining the project requirements, creating a preliminary design then selecting one company to design and build the project. Design and construction are performed simultaneously, and a full project outline is required earlier in the process. A potential benefit is a shorter construction period. This will be the first time the city utilizes this process.
“Bridge projects have a great track record for being excellent design-build project candidates, particularly when there are no significant changes being proposed for the new structure,” said Ramm.
In a letter to city council, Ramm said the traditional design-bid-build method is a tried and true process but comes with restrictions that hinder a project’s timeline. He said this bridge replacement would be a “pilot project” for the design-build model.
“Lessons learned through this process could provide us the best frame of reference to accurately consider utilizing this method as we manage our extensive five-year capital infrastructure program going forward,” he said.
Environmental Design Group will oversee the project due to its experience with this method. The cost will be $41,385 with an $8,614 contingency.
Ramm outlined the detours for residents during construction. “There will be a temporary access drive constructed between Pete Wisnieski Parkway and Meadowbrook Boulevard that will afford residents west of the bridge ingress and egress to their homes during the bridge construction work,” he said.
Hemlock Creek in the Meadowbrook Boulevard area is a Federal Emergency Management Agency designated flood zone. Ramm said the bridge replacement will neither eliminate nor worsen flooding.
The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Brecksville Road bridge project over I-480 continues with expected completion in summer 2023, according to ODOT’s website. The project includes replacing the bridge deck and painting the structural steel.
The cost of bridge construction is covered by ODOT, but Independence is paying $705,620 for bridge aesthetics, including fencing, lighting and branding on the side of the bridge with the word “Independence” and a liberty bell and stars on the fence, according to city legislation.
Once the bridge’s northbound side is completed this summer, work will begin on the south side. A single southbound and northbound lane will then shift to the west side of Brecksville Road. Nightly lane restrictions on I-480 beneath the bridge will continue through late October. ∞