Award of Merit: Historic Category
Restoration of the Leeper Bridge (SR 933)
South Bend, Indiana
Submitted by Sika Corporation
Butler, Fairman and
F.E. Gates Co.
The Leeper Bridge is a three-span, historically significant, spandrel-filled arch bridge structure built in 1915, located over the St. Joseph River in South Bend, IN, just south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It has a Bedford limestone façade, neoclassical décor, keystone arch ring inserts, decorative pilaster emblems, open arch rail panels, and ornamental lighting. It was repaired in 1945, 1977, and 1998.
In 2002, the limestone façade exhibited severely cracked and spalled stones, leaving large, open joints. The east side railing was also leaning outward, and a slight sag in the top of the spandrel wall profile was evident. Repairs were performed in 2006; however, soon after construction was completed, the cracks that had been repaired in the east railing appeared to be opening up. Results of a subsequent 2-year monitoring program indicated that no significant movement of the arch or spandrel walls had occurred.
In 2011, extensive cracking in the bridge deck, east railing, and arch rings was noted during a routine bridge inspection. Investigation determined that the top of the arch ring was in good condition, the cracking in the deck was a result of improper placement of the slab reinforcement, and the bridge was adequate for HS 20 truck loading with a low load rating factor for toll road truck loadings.
After several options were considered, the 2012 repair program included strengthening the bridge by crack injection at the arch underside and carbon fiber strip installation on the arch surface, thereby increasing the load rating factor. Repairs also included rebuilding the existing concrete rail panels between pilasters, restoring stone at intermediate columns, repairing the stone façade, and sealing cracks in the deck slab.