LJB Delivers on Emergency Design Project

The LJB team prides itself on being there for our clients when they need us. On March 20, when the City of Bellbrook, Ohio, called on us in an emergency, we were ready to jump in and navigate the waters with them. And, in this case, water was the problem.

That morning, flood waters caused the North Belleview Road culverts to wash out completely (see video). LJB had worked on a bridge upstream in the past, and had developed a consulting relationship with the municipality, so the city called on us to help address the emergency. The culverts had previously washed out in the 1980s, and the team decided to conduct a complete analysis to appropriately design the replacement structure to improve its longevity.

While city employees handled the immediate needs of road closures and public communication, LJB got to work on a design solution for the repairs. In less than a week, LJB developed a proposed solution with cost and schedule, which allowed City Council to make decisions at their next meeting. Within the month, LJB had mobilized the team, started design and performed survey to move the project forward.

The replacement of the culverts was not included in the capital improvement program, so the city and LJB team turned to the state’s OPWC Emergency Program for funding to construct the improvements and re-open this critical connection in the city. The design schedule was advanced to provide adequate cost estimates for application to that extremely competitive program. The project received 100% construction funding through the state when the authorizing legislation was passed at the Statehouse.

“The coordination between the City and LJB to prepare for the uncertain state funding availability created a tight timeline to prepare for the long-term solution,” said Bellbrook City Manager Melissa Dodd. “The seamless coordination enabled the City to secure $325,000 in emergency grant funding as soon as it came available. This extremely competitive funding enabled the City to get the project completed in a short period of time so the road was able to reopen and once again accommodate the community. “ 

The project was constructed by Sturm Construction under budget and on schedule and opened to traffic less than eight months from the washout. The new culvert is a concrete pre-cast arch structure with a wider span that will reduce maintenance efforts to remove storm debris and will pass the design-year storms with no impact on the downstream floodplain and properties. It used locally supplied materials and minimizes the risk of failure in the future. The design also extended the culvert length to remove guardrail along the corridor and provide the city the flexibility to add sidewalk in the future if desired.

“This project moved very smoothly through the design, bidding, and construction phases, allowing our team to engage at critical decision points and remain focused on other tasks.” said Bellbrook Service Director Ryan Pasley.

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