Both bridges have significant importance to river navigation, as well as impacts on street traffic to surrounding businesses. While the Ohio Street bridge was identified for rehabilitation in 2019, an inspection of the nearby Michigan Avenue bridge in mid-2020 identified serious issues with the ropes that lift the bridge, forcing its closure. Returning the Michigan Avenue bridge to full operation was required before Ohio Street reconstruction could start (spring 2021), as it was part of the vehicular detour route while Street bridge was being repaired.
We were challenged with a limited time period for replacing the Michigan Avenue lift ropes, due both to U.S. Coast Guard limitations on restricting Buffalo River navigation and the need to complete the work prior to the start of summer navigation. We recommended an innovative approach - procuring the lift ropes in advance of the rest of the contract work, which allowed work to start several months earlier than traditional procurement processes. This ensured the Michigan Avenue bridge could be restored to full-service weeks ahead of time, shortening the overall contract duration and minimizing the traffic impacts on adjacent businesses and river navigation.