LJB Team Explores Innovative Bridge Materials

DSCN3262Eight members of LJB’s bridge design team recently toured the North American Stainless steel mill in Ghent, Kentucky—the largest stainless steel mill in the country. The team is designing the Ohio State Route 799 bridge replacements, one of which will use stainless steel reinforcement in the bridge superstructure. The tour was part of the team’s efforts to build on its knowledge of stainless steel as a material used in bridge construction.

The tour provided an inside look into how stainless steel is created. The team viewed three locations within the plant, including the melt shop where scrap metal is melted down, the long-product hot mill where billets are formed, and the flat-product hot mill where plates are formed. The temperature within the mill sits at about 100 degrees.

“Touring the NAS facility was like being in an episode of How It’s Made, and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Shayne Dillinger, an LJB CAD designer. “I’ve seen the negative effects of rusting reinforcement steel in Ohio’s bridge decks, and I’m very excited to see how stainless steel products will minimize this problem and improve the quality of life for travelers. I predict positive results for the HAS-799 project and others like it.”

The State Route 799 bridge project is unique because the team is designing the replacement of two existing bridges. One will be constructed using conventional materials, while the other bridge will use carbon fiber strands and stainless steel reinforcing in the superstructure. The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to monitor the deterioration of each bridge through its annual bridge inspection program to determine if using carbon fiber strands and stainless steel are economical for future projects.

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