ASCE Volunteers Design/Build Bridge


Putnam Valley Library located on Oscawana Lake Road, found itself isolated literally after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The library building is physically separated from the road and parking lot by a narrow, deep ravine, otherwise known as Oscawana Creek. Two bridges, a regular bridge on the East end of the property and a 60 ft x 8 ft wide bridge at the center of the library building provide patron access to the library. Years of neglect and Superstorm Sandy landed a one-two punch to the library. Due to record flood stage, the vehicular bridge washed out and was condemned. The little steel girder bridge held up better, however a quick inspection by the building department raised concerns.

The town building department reached out to William J. Frank Engineering, P.C. for an expert opinion. The inspection by William Frank, PE, an experienced bridge designer inspected the bridge in the winter of 2013 and confirmed the worst fears. The steel girders had holes in the webs and flanges were rotted out. Repairs were not deemed feasible.

But the library was not totally out of luck. A grant provided funds to design and replace vehicular bridge. However, the pedestrian bridge was the only access the library patrons would have. As it turned out, William was also a member of the ASCE Mid Hudson Branch Board of Directors, past president and treasurer. He put the challenge to the board: lets help PVL replace their bridge. The board just happened to have other bridge designers, inspectors, hydraulic engineers and the volunteer project was born.

Permits were applied for and obtained, designs were hatched, materials were donated and pro-bono construction services were secured. Community and ASCE volunteers surveyed, excavated, constructed foundations for the new bridge on weekends. The new pedestrian bridge was erected adjacent to the old one. The project was completed in April of 2017.

Bill Frank, PE M.ASCE, president of William J. Frank Engineering, P.C. is seen standing in front of the new pedestrian bridge.

Putnam Valley Library: http://putnamvalleylibrary.org/

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