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Prein&Newhof Wins ACEC State Award for Walker Avenue Bridge Removal Project

Prein&Newhof and the City of Walker have been honored with an Engineering Honorable Conceptor Award for the Walker Avenue Bridge Removal project by the American Council of Engineering Companies–Michigan Chapter (ACEC-MI).

The City of Walker had this project’s goals in mind for nearly 20 years, as it tried to identify feasible funding sources to fix the issues with the Walker Avenue Bridge over the Coopersville & Marne Railway.

“Prein&Newhof learned of Walker’s challenge with this bridge in 2019 and dug in to help them solve it,” explains Senior Project Manager Jason Washler, PE.

The concrete box beam structure was weight-restricted and in serious need of repair, which hindered BISSELL®, a commercial industry within the corridor, from expanding its facility. In addition to these concerns, BISSELL’s only access drive failed to meet the required stopping sight distance for motorists.

Rather than widening and replacing the bridge as originally planned, the City of Walker and Prein&Newhof project team decided that removing the bridge and returning the corridor to an at-grade crossing was best. This solution corrected the stopping sight distance safety concerns while also eliminating the need for future inspection and long-term maintenance of the bridge. The design also added an overhead signal at the crossing to make the railway more visible to oncoming motorists. The State of Michigan’s Local Bridge Authority agreed to fund this solution, having turned down three previous funding requests related to this bridge.

The City of Walker’s Department of Public Works Director Gary Postema, Prein&Newhof Senior Project Manager Jason Washler, PE and Prein&Newhof Construction Services Coordinator Brent VanDyke accepted the award at the ACEC-MI 2022 Engineering & Surveying Excellence Awards Gala at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan.

Prein&Newhof provided design, bid assistance, construction staking, full-time construction observation, professional project management, and consistent public communication, including a construction update webpage to keep the public informed of progress throughout the project.

Construction was completed during the summer of 2020, and the results provided BISSELL the confidence to invest $6.3 million to renovate its building and create 99 new jobs. The successful outcome and positive impact for the community helped the Walker Avenue Bridge Removal project and its team to win this ACEC-MI award.

This project is competing in the national ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards event in Washington DC in May 2022.

Aerial view of Walker Avenue with the bridge removed. BISSELL® Worldwide Headquarters is in the foreground with the railroad crossing and a Meijer Distribution Center beyond.

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