Bridge Reuse & Restoration – Specifications and Special Provisions

Specifications and Special Provisions:

Writing Bach Steel and/or Truss Bridge Restoration into a Contract

Whether you are an owner seeking to restore an existing historic bridge, or you want to purchase a restored historic bridge for your use, you want to be sure that you get a qualified firm like Bach Steel to restore the bridge, but may also face the challenge of doing so through the traditional system of competitive bidding. Additionally, you may be familiar with the process of procuring a new prefabricated truss bridge, such as those often used on trailways, but would like to instead use a historic bridge for this purpose, but are unsure whether the process for doing so is similar. This page is designed to help address these issues.

The below information and documents are believed to be accurate, but are offered without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

Purchase a Restored Historic Metal Truss Bridge The Same Way as a Modern Prefabricated Truss Bridge

You have a choice when you build a  bridge and Bach Steel hopes you will choose restored historic truss bridges!

If you are familiar with the process of purchasing a new prefabricated truss bridge, such as typical done for a trailway or other non-motorized facility, and would like to apply a similar procedure to acquire a restored historic truss bridge for your use, the truth is that the process need not be particularly different. As a finished product offered to a customer, historic metal truss bridges actually have a lot in common with modern prefabricated truss bridges… with the only difference being that historic bridges are more unique, beautiful, and rich with history. Projects that require a prefabricated bridge may specify the bridge component of the project as a completed product that is supplied to the general contractor by a qualified supplier. Regardless of which general contractor is awarded the overall project contract, the general contractor will have to acquire the bridge from one or more qualified, approved, suppliers. Below is an example document that is adapted from suggested specifications intended for use in purchasing modern prefabricated truss bridges, but modified as an example of how they might be applied for the purpose of acquiring a historic metal truss bridge for a similar use.

View Example Specifications for Purchasing A Restored Historic Metal Truss Bridge (Coming Soon)

Suggested Specifications and Special Provisions for Historic Metal Bridge Restoration Contracts

At Bach Steel we enjoy working as a subcontractor under a general contractor, and this can also be a way to help ensure that a quality Bach Steel bridge restoration is a part of your historic bridge rehabilitation even in a competitive bidding system. Restoration, disassembly, and reassembly of of historic metal bridges is a specialty procedure that most general contractors are either unfamiliar with or uninterested in dealing with. By making Bach Steel a subcontractor for this work, the general contractor can focus on the overall project needs, while Bach Steel focuses on the actual work involving the historic metal trusses themselves. This arrangement can be encouraged through the use of specific Specifications and Special Provisions that both serve to outline the expectations in terms of quality and proper procedure for the restoration work, and can also suggest, recommend, or even require the general contractor to subcontract the restoration work to a specific company like Bach Steel, or alternatively require a company meeting stringent experience requirements.

Special provisions in a contract proposal may include a requirement that the general contractor select from one of a very list of pre-approved firms supplied in the contract special provisions that would perform the restoration work. This procedure has been used by a number of state Departments of Transportation including Michigan and Indiana. In particular, Indiana has used a fairly detailed special provision called the “Blacksmith” special provision for metal truss bridge restoration work. Some of the key language from this provision is shown below:

Repair of the truss members of the two historic bridge spans requires skills that are uncommon. Therefore, the following specific tasks shall be accomplished by one of the firms noted in this provision. The tasks are:

1.    riveting,
2.    welding of any sort on bridge members,
3.    removing pack rust and removing rust ripples from built-up truss members,
4.    straightening bent or deformed members,
5.    replication of deteriorated members from new stock,
6.    equalizing tension in eyebar pairs.
The firms that may perform the blacksmith work for this project are:
Bach Steel, Inc.
4140 Keller Road
Holt, MI 48842-1254
(517) 581-6243

In the above example, additional firms could be listed if so desired. However we strongly believe that Bach Steel offers the best quality and the best prices for restoration work. Why waste the general contractor’s time with anyone else? Also, if your project will require the disassemble and reassembly of a truss, we would recommend including that work under this type of special provision as well, since if this work is done by an inexperienced firm, severe and costly damage to the historic bridge may occur.

Finally, be sure to view our page about riveting, which includes examples of how riveting can be specified in a contract. Riveting is not a lost art, and we believe it should be a part of the restoration of any riveted bridge, to maintain proper historical accuracy, and a consistent appearance in the completed product.