‘Roadway’ Tag

Failing Infrastructure

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

This is the infamous Stadium Blvd Bridge in Ann Arbor, MI. For the past several years, this bridge has literally been falling down, waiting on funds for a rehabilitation project. What you see on the near side of the bridge is an exposed beam, which used to be the south side of the bridge. Last year, the south half of the bridge was removed for public safety reason, because officials were worried “football size” chunks of concrete would fall on a car or pedestrian. This fall, the City of Ann Arbor with its secured funding will finally undertake this long overdue project.

Traffic Light

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

This is your typical traffic light in the USA: red on the top, yellow in the middle, and green on the bottom. The four individual signals are supported by the cantilevered mast arm. Traffic lights are seen all over the world, and help traffic flow safely in multiple directions. The design of the signal processing is done after a complete and thorough investigation of existing traffic flow is completed by a traffic engineer. The traffic engineer uses this information to formulate the optimal combination of light sequence order and timing, so that everybody gets along their way in good time and safely.

Cloverleaf Interchange

Photo Credit: Brian Wolfe

This is a great example of a classic cloverleaf interchange of a major road and a highway. The cloverleaf interchange gets its name from its shape. Half of the ramps, where the driver would normally make a right turn at an at-grade intersection, are smooth curves on the outer edges of this interchange. The other half of the ramps, where the driver would normally make a left turn to get on the other road, are 270-deg loops on the inner part of the interchange. They have been a popular choice by transportation engineers for many decades, but recently they are being replaced by safer and more efficient interchanges. The problem with the cloverleaf interchange has to do with the merging in/out of the loop ramps, especially when there is a heavy slow-to-accelerate truck in the mix which are also prone to roll-over accidents.

Stalled Bridge Project

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is the end of the Ambassador Bridge that extends from Detroit, MI, USA to Windsor, Ontario, Canada over the Detroit River. This particular picture is of the ramp up to a proposed second crossing. However, the permits were not issued and the project was therefore halted and now stands with a drop off to nowhere. The lesson from this is quite straight forward: get your permits before you start the project or you may end up with a useless piece of infrastructure.

Bridge Week!: Lift Bridge

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

This is the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, officially the Houghton–Hancock Bridge, in Houghton, Michigan. This bridge connects the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Keweenaw Peninsula, which today is technically the Keweenaw Island due to a man made shipping canal. The lift bridge is the widest and heaviest double-decked lift bridge in the world, capable of elevating to a water clearance height of 100 feet!

Bridge Week!: I-94 Bridge over Telegraph Road – Steel Arch

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

This is the I-94, Telegraph Road Bridge near Detroit, Michigan. This seemly out of place bridge is needed to span over Telegraph road to allow for unobstructed traffic flow beneath I-94. This bridge uses a combination of steel arches and tension cables to carry the load of the deck and passing traffic. The road deck takes load to the cables, which are hung from the steel arches. These steel arches then finish the load path by bringing the load to the ground. If you look on the right side of the picture, the top of the foundation of the bridge can be seen where the blue arch contacts the ground.

Highway Bridge over River

Photo Credit: Nathan Shoemaker

Seen here is a night photograph of the I-196 crossing of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This highway is a major artery through the city and carries many cars and trucks from the west coast of Michigan to the metropolitan area of Detroit via Grand Rapids.

Truss Bridge

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Pictured above is the Sixth Street Bridge in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It spans the Grand River and was built in 1886 using wrought iron. The bridge is made up of four Pratt trusses on stone piers and is the longest and oldest metal bridge in Michigan. When this bridge was built it cost a whopping $31,000!

Brick Road

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Featured above is a brick road. Common throughout the world before the large spread use of concrete and asphalt, they can still be seem in many cities, kept as reminders of the past. Requiring large amounts of labor to construct and maintain, brick roads are rarely built today.