To the Editor: Waterville bridge rating was 150% in March 2013
Written by George E. Thompson   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 08:49
Mike Gramza, ODOT's planning engineer, was recently quoted in the Toledo Blade stating the Waterville Bridge is of a "fracture critical" design. Wrong, Mike. It's not the design, it's the steel they are built with. Pre-1930s bridges were built with cast steel. Scotsman Andrew Carnegie changed all that with the complete conversion of the steel manufacturing industry to high tensile strength steel employing the Bessemer Process in 1928.
Boilers ceased to explode, railroad rails stopped shattering and bridges could then flex without cracking. The Waterville Bridge was built by Bethlehem of "Carnegie" steel in 1948 and was 400-percent "overbuilt". It was touted at its opening as the bridge for "1,000 years." My phone conversation with ODOT's bridge engineer in March, 2013, acknowledged a structural rating of 150 percent or "tops in the nation." Wouldn't it look suspicious if that rating should plummet while the engineering firm of Mannik and Smith are completing the design for a new eight traffic lane wide Waterville bridge? Eight lanes?
Gramza also commented that the river slope along route 64-65 is eroding at its foot. Wrong again, Mike! Our engineers compared measurements from 2012 with those of 1939 and found negligible change from the center of the right of way to the foot of the slope at five separate locations. Gramza states there are cracks in the pavement caused by a slipping slope. We intercepted an ODOT memo from Hull and Assoc. via Tetra Tech that states "negligible slope movement." The only cracks in the pavement we can find in that 900 feet of roadway without a microscope (last repaved in 1995 and widened from 24 feet to 31 feet) is a short few feet where pavement was laid on berm and sod. (When has that ever worked?) That's three strikes for Mike and he's out of credibility.
George E. Thompson,
Holland
 

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