The Anthony Boulevard Bridge over the Maumee River – used by about 19,000 vehicles daily – will see its width and weight capacity reduced until major structural deterioration can be repaired by late next year.
Bridges in Allen County are inspected every two years, and a recent review of the 301-foot, 38-year-old bridge revealed problems with the deck and beams, said Dan Allen, chief construction manager for the county highway department. The “box”-style concrete-and-steel beams were widely used in the 1970s because of their relatively low cost, but the hollow beams have proved susceptible to damage from water, salt and other forces.
The bridge previously had no weight limit, but vehicles crossing it will now be limited to 12 tons. That should not be a major problem, Allen said, because Anthony is not a designated truck route anyway.
Bids for repair will be sought as soon as possible, and the county hopes to award a contract in November. The bridge will be closed during reconstruction and is expected to reopen in November 2013, Allen said.
Although the expense was unexpected, Allen said the county should be able to pay for it with unused funds left over from the bond sold to pay for the extension of Maplecrest Road, which ultimately cost far less than its expected $50 million budget.
Until repairs are completed, traffic on the bridge will be limited to one lane in either direction. Allen said the county will continue to monitor the bridge's condition and may make some short-term repairs until more extensive work can begin.
Anthony is a major north-south route. Clinton Street – a major southbound route through downtown – is currently closed for repairs near Spy Run Creek. Allen said Clinton is expected to reopen before Anthony is closed for traffic, however.