In an experiment with advanced composites, California will use six fiber-reinforced-plastic deck panels to replace open-grated-steel units on about one-fourth of the Schuyler Heim Bridge in Long Beach. If it works, we have a solution,'' Jim Roberts, engineering services director and chief structures engineer for Caltrans, said in an interview. ``We have a lot of these open bridge decks around.''
The 240-foot-long span has two 35-foot-wide roadways with a 5-foot-wide raised median. The existing deck weighs about 16.6 pounds per square foot.
Tasks will include designing and testing plans, confirming material properties, constructing a prototype deck and manufacturing and installing the six FRP panels. Each will measure about 7 feet 8 inches by 35 feet and have a depth of 5 inches to maintain the existing deck elevation and profile.
Caltrans will hold a bidders' conference Aug. 20 in Sacramento and will accept statements of qualifications and technical proposals until Sept. 3.
We will negotiate with whomever we select and may award a contract by the end of September,'' Roberts said.
Caltrans expects the work to cost less than $1 million and be complete within a year.
The World War II-era lift-span bridge carries a high percentage of port-induced heavy truck traffic over a salt water channel between Terminal Island and the mainland.
Caltrans has found the welded steel to be brittle and inflexible and seeks an economical way to bring down mounting repair costs.