The Lane Avenue Bridge
The Reasons For and Making Of
ACSM 305 Class
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
May, 14 2012
May 16, 2012
ACSM 305 Students
The Ohio State University
Dept. of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
590 Woody Hayes Dr.
Columbus, OH 43210
The report you requested and authorized in April of 2012 is included. You will find information about the
construction methods and materials used in the bridge as well as the impacts it has had since
We sought to understand why the Lane Avenue bridge was constructed in the manner it was. During our
research, we learned the possible designs, process and elements behind its construction, the artistic
impacts, and environmental impacts. Our research has led to the conclusion that the cable spayed
design with concrete construction was the most efficient design due to corrosion over time and
Due to increased focus on environmentally conscience designs, we believe more bridges should be built
in such a manner where rivers and wildlife will be affected. Furthermore, due to the strength of the
concrete and cable stayed supports, the bridges life expectancy should be doubled that of the previous
version. Artistic designs complete the bridge making it appealing to the eye in addition to its other
Several first hand sources were used and found to be incredibly useful. Amongst the most useful were
the Franklin County office and the personal interviews with Meeks, Roe, and Sherman.
Thank you for allowing us to research the Lane Avenue Bridge. We have learned much about cable
spayed bridges; both in their history and in the building practices of them. Please feel free to ask us any
additional questions and we look forward to answering them.
CSM Group Team Leader
Table of Contents
Letter of Transmittal
The Lane Avenue Bridge Design
List of Illustrations
Artistic Rendering of Lane Avenue Bridge
North Architectural Panels
Figure 3South Architectural Panels
The Lane Avenue Bridge
The reasons for and making of
With the main campus divided by a river and more than 50,000 students attending The Ohio State
University, a bridge is a necessity to allow access for all of the commuters. Due to the age of the
previous bridge, it had to be replaced with the current model. With so much traffic and activity coming
and going through the campus, however, this bridge had to be the perfect blend of structural integrity,
aesthetic appeal, and environmental appreciation.
Our research found that the bridge was a well designed and efficient choice for several reasons. Traffic is
slowed severely whenever the bridge experiences damage and must be repaired or replaced; this new
model should last twice as long, preventing unnecessary closures while the cables ensure the integrity of
the bridge will not be compromised over time by weather and vehicles. With architectural panels, the
bridge becomes a symbol of pride and strength for the university. This encourages self expression to
onlookers and utilizes otherwise wasted space for decorative purposes and adds appeal. Those
concerned with the local environment are satisfied, as this design does not dam the river.
The Lane avenue bridge was a success and should be implemented elsewhere due to:
The effective load capacity due to the cable stayed design
The long life expectancy of the bridge
Minimal amounts of down time due to maintenance
Minimal restriction to water flow and soil erosion
Aesthetic possibilities with artwork and metal fabrication
The previous bridge spanning the Olentangy River was outdated and needed replaced. The Ohio State
University explored possible design options to replace it. The cable stayed bridge was selected and
implemented. The following report will discuss the various aspects of the bridge in detail.
The purpose is to inform you about the Lane Avenue bridge. This requires an understanding of
how it was constructed, what features and design parameters were included, and the impactit has had
on the environment.
In this report, we will discuss the history of the cable stayed bridge, how it works, the design
(including the intended how long it is intended to last, traffic concerns during construction, and
the actual building process), the artistic value through architectural panels, and environmental
group issues. We do not discuss other bridges considered for this type of situation. Nor do we
discuss the negative impacts of the chosen bridge design.
The research was limited to research obtained from first hand sources, such as interviews with people
involved in the project, and online research. While our group members are all CSM majors, we
collectively have very little experience and knowledge of bridge building. Time constraints, also, have
been placed which limited the amount of research we could gather and use.
The use of cable stayed bridges can be traced back to over four centuries ago(Delaware). Although the
use of cable stayed bridges in the United States is fairly new, the Egyptians implemented cable-stayed
features in their boats and use cable-stays in rope bridges for pedestrians (ACROW). In the year 1607 a
Venetian engineer named Faustus Verantius designed a way to use diagonal stays with tension cables.
The first known engineer to design a fully supported stayed bridge was a German carpenter named C.T.
Loescher in the year 1784, this bridge made completely of timber spanned a length of 105 feet. Various
designs of this stayed bridge were created after 1784 up until about 1824, after two cable stayed
bridges failed. The first cable stayed bridge to collapse was in 1818 wasnear Dryburgh-Abbey, England
and was due to strong wind forces. Shortly after this occurrence; another cable stayed bridge collapsed
in 1824 in Nienburg, Germany due to exceeding its weight capacity (ACROW). This created a bad name
in the world of engineering for the use of cable stayed bridges. Although, the true reason behind these
failures was lack of knowledge on how cable stayed bridges really work. It was not until 1938 that cable
stayed bridges were reborn as we know them today. German engineer Franz Dischinger was designing a
bridge to cross the ElbeRiver in Hamburg, Germany when he found that using cable-stays in a
suspension bridge lessened the vertical deflection under a railroad load. This would later lead to the
rebuilding of Europe’s infrastructure with the use of cable stays due to the lack of steel following World
How a cable stay works is like scale or balance. The compression tower acts as the rotating hinge of the
balance and the tension cables that connect the towers to the girders on each side of the bridge act as
counter balances to keep the bridge in equilibrium. The compression towers of cable stayed bridges
absorb large amounts of compression forces that are eventually transferred into the bedrock beneath
the bridges foundation. A very apparent difference in suspension and cable-stayed bridges are the
number of compression towers. The typical suspension bridge would use only two compression towers,
although can use more. Today, there are many variation of the cable stayed bridge. Some of these
variation include the side-spar cable-stayed bridge, the cantilever-spar, the multi-span, the extra dosed,
and the cradle-system cable stay systems. Each of these variations have their own specific situation in
which to be used.
Lane Avenue Bridge Design
The design for the new Lane Avenue Bridge was picked for its environmental and artistic impacts. Below
is figure 1, an Artistic rendering of the proposed Lane Avenue Bridge design.
Figure 1: Artistic rendering of the proposed Lane Avenue Bridge by Mark Sherman, P.E.,
Chief Deputy with the Franklin County Engineer's Office (Source: Franklin County Engineer 2008)
The unique design above (Figure 1) was chosen by a civic committee because it artistically reflected the
social and economic life of the Lane Avenue corridor and had the least environmental impact on the
river (Franklin County Engineer’s Office, 2012).
However, there were many challenges when it came to designing the bridge. It had to be able to last for
one hundred years, instead of the normal fifty year standard. In order to accomplish this feat Franklin
County Engineers did not overlook any details in the design process. The metal exposed to the elements
is stainless steel to delay the effects of corrosion. (Sherman, 2012) All the joints and bolts are hidden
from view to protect them and are set to one eighth of an inch tolerance. (Roe, 2012) Extra care was
taken to have no dirt in the aggregate as well. (Sherman, 2012) The cables are incased in a plastic cover
and have a spiral pattern on the outside to guide rain water off the cables. (Roe, 2012) The horizontal
beams flanges under the bridge are at a steep angle and all cavities are filled with foam so no birds or
other wildlife can live or defecate under the bridge. (Sherman, 2012) These extra steps taken in the
design process make it a reality that the Lane Ave. Bridge will last one hundred years.
The main challenge when it came to planning the construction was the amount of vehicles and
pedestrian traffic that would be displaced by the bridge being out of commission. The average daily
traffic was 1500 vehicles and there were up to 500 pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bridge per hour.
(Meeks, 2012) This meant that the bridge would need to be built as fast as possible. A pedestrian
bridge was built south of the original bridge to detour pedestrian traffic. The vehicle traffic had to be
detoured through Doddridge St. north of the original bridge. (Meeks, 2012) Lane Ave.’s old earth-filled
bridge remained open as long as possible during the first phases of construction. The old bridge was
torn down the day after the last home OSU football game took place in 2002 with half of the south
tower already built. (Franklin County Engineer’s Office, 2012, p. 3) Construction started on February 27,
2002 and “was opened five months ahead of schedule with a festive ribbon cutting ceremony on
November 14, 2003.” (Franklin County Engineer’s Office, 2012, p. 1) The under two years of traffic
displacement was well worth the sacrifice, because now there are six lanes of traffic with two 12 foot
wide pedestrian sidewalks with a parapet barrier, opposed to the old bridge’s three lanes of traffic and
The construction company that built the bridge was CJ Mahan Construction Co. They built the Beach
Rd. cable-stayed bridge before for Franklin County. The first step in building the bridge was the
construction of the causeway and abutment so that construction vehicles could move more freely
around the site. The first part of the bridge constructed was the south tower. For each tower’s pier,
1,484 cubic yards of concrete was poured and steel piles where driven 38 feet into the river bed.
(Franklin County Engineer Records, 2004) After the south tower was complete work started on the
north tower. As the deck was being built, it had to be supported by metal columns because the cables
where not put into place yet. The cable anchorage assembly atop the towers weighs 52 tons and at the
time was “largest single piece of metal to be galvanized.” (Franklin County Engineer’s Office, 2012, p. 7)
The concrete edge girders are filled with post tension cables running horizontally through the bridge and
are stressed to 871,000 lbs. of force. (Roe, 2012) There are 36 miles of post-tensioned cables
supporting the deck and edge girders which give them their strength. (Roe, 2012) The 20 cables atop of
the bridge where hung slack and post-tensioned between 218,000 and 511,000 lbs. In each of the cable
there are between 9 and 19 strands of 0.6 in diameter. (Franklin County Engineer Records, 2004) The
bridge is completely reliant on the cables. If more than two cables fail the bridge as a whole will fail.
(Sherman, 2012) The last steps in construction of the bridge were the 107 lights and the two tower ties.
The temporary pedestrian bridge, the metal supports, and the causeway were removed after the bridge
was completed. The bridge after completion was 370 ft. long by 112 ft. wide. The towers reach a height
of 145 ft. tall. The project cost 12.5 million dollars when completed.
As mentioned above, the Lane Avenue Bridge was designed to artistically reflect the social and
economic life of the Lane Avenue Corridor (Franklin County Engineer’s Office, 2012). The bridge has a
modern look with an academic feel. Also, the Lane Avenue Bridge has many little details like four
architectural panels and thirteen block O’s hidden throughout the bridge.
Displayed on the stair landings of the bridge are four architectural panels, each displaying a different
image and having a different meaning behind them. Two of the panels are on the north side and the
other two panels on the south side of the Lane Avenue Bridge. In all four panels is a sun. The sun has
rays that look like cables; this idea connects back to the bridge itself because the bridge has cables.
Refer to Figure 2 below as the north architectural panels are described.The panel on the left depicts
three people, an old man, a child, and an infant. The old man is shown picking an apple from the tree of
knowledge. In his other hand is a rag doll, the rag doll represents imagination. The child is reading while
the infant is playing. Overall this panel represents modes of discovery and learning. The panel on the
right shows a bird, land and mountains, a fetus in a mountain, water, and clouds with curved lines
coming from them. The bird, the land and mountains, the water, and the clouds stand for nature. The
fetus in the mountain is the growth of humankind. As a whole this panel represents the beginning of the
Figure 2: Lane Avenue Bridge north architectural panels, February 13, 2004 (Source: Franklin County
Next the other two panels. Refer to Figure 3 below as the south architectural panels are described.The
panel on the left depicts a conductor, music, a girl playing the violin, a boy singing, and a girl playing the
trumpet. This panel represents the quality of life increasing because through engineering one can
advance in creativity. The panel on the right shows the Downtown Columbus skyline, an airplane, the
new Lane Avenue Bridge, the old Lane Avenue Bridge, and a person reading a map. The plane represents
transportation. The new Lane Avenue Bridge stands for all that is new, where as the old Lane Avenue
Bridge stands for all that is old. The person reading represents learning and our lives roadmap. Overall
the panel shows us how over time learning leads to improving our lives.
Figure 3: Lane Avenue Bridge south architectural panels, February 13, 2004(Source: Franklin County
The Lane Avenue Bridge design had to have the least environmental impact on the Olentangy River. This
design provided the smallest potential for environmental degradation on the river environment. A group
involved the environmental impact of the bridge is Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW).
“FLOW is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean
and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local
decision makers” (FLOW, 2005-2011).
The cable spayed design allowed a bridge to be constructed which should last for approximately one
hundred years. The simple concrete aesthetics and lighting provide a pleasing sight for drivers while the
architectural panels represents the university in a positive, empowering way. Even concerns for
environmental awareness is met by allowing the river to continue to flow unrestricted.
ACROW Corporation of America. (2005). General Format. Retrieved from
Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). (2010, Nov). PDF format. Retrieved from
FLOW. (2005-2011). FLOW. Retrieved from: http://olentangywatershed.org/
Franklin County Engineer’s Office. (2012). Lane Avenue Bridge Story. Retrieved From:
Franklin County Engineer Records. (2004). Lane Avenue Time Lapse.
John A. Weeks III. (1996-2012). General Format. Retrieved from
Meeks, M, P.E. Franklin County Engineer Traffic Engineer. Interviewed: May 2,
Roe, S, P.E. Franklin County Engineer Assistant Bridge Engineer and Project Engineer. Interviewed:
April 20, 2012.
Sherman, M, P.E. Franklin County Engineer Chief Deputy Engineer. Interviewed: April 20, 2012