North Shore Bridge

 
 
 
 

A major aertial into the City of Benton Harbor is closed due to a deteriorated bridge.  To make matters worse, the bridge is located in the heart of the soon to be built Harbor Shores development, including the Harbor Shores golf course.  Not a very good impression for the City or Harbor Shores.

 

This was the situation in 2004 when the North Shore bridge over the Paw Paw River was closed due to severe corrosion of the steel stringers, including near 100% loss of the stringer webs at the piers.  Funding was received from the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Integrity Structural Engineering was brought on to design the replacement structure.

 

The existing structure was demolished to make room for the new 3-span, prestressed concrete “I”-beam bridge.  A number of factors needed to be incorporated into the design, including:

  • The spans needed to be continuous in order to eliminate the deck leakage at the piers, which increases the longevity of the structure.
  • As the structure is located adjacent to three holes of the golf course, the vertical alignment and footprint of the bridge and approaches needed to be minimized, in order to maximize space for the course.
  • Although the vertical alignment needed to be minimized, it also needed to be such that golf carts and maintenance vehicles could pass under the structure.

 With those marching orders, Integrity Structural Engineering completed the design, successfully incorporating the required factors.  The bridge can now be safely used for vehicles or for pedestrians hoping for a glimpse of Tom Watson or other great golfers at the 2012 Senior PGA Tournament.  The bridge is also an educational opportunity for golfers passing underneath, to view the underside of a bridge which is not normally seen by the general public.  It also perhaps gets their mind off of the daunting tee-shot of the 18th hole of Harbor Shores Golf Course.