On July 18, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) began removing the M-86 bridge over the Prairie River near Centreville, Mich. In its place will be the first MDOT bridge to use carbon fiber composite strand reinforcement.

“It’s one of the few bridges being completely rebuilt this year and also the size of the bridge that made this an ideal structure to try these new innovations,” MDOT’s Nick Schirripa told Sturgis Journal. “We’re actually working with four other states on this design to see how it works out.”

According to MDOT, the new M-86 bridge also will be one of only two bridges in the state to feature an innovative design – concrete bulb T-beam – which, when paired with the carbon fiber reinforcement, is expected to help reduce the concrete cracking, deterioration and corrosion typical in traditional steel-reinforced bridges.

MDOT estimates that by implementing these designs, the new bridge beams could last more than 100 years and require less maintenance, leading to significant cost savings for Michigan taxpayers.

“The carbon fiber strands will provide many benefits, as it is non-corrosive and lightweight, yet still has high tensile strength, which will extend the service life of the bridge by 25 years or more,” MDOT said.

Part of this project also includes repairing and relocating the existing bridge over M-86. The camelback pony truss structure was originally built in 1923. The bridge was moved to its current location in 1938 under the Public Works Administration program.

The $4.9 million project is scheduled for completion in November 2017. To learn more about MDOT’s carbon fiber composite cables, go to http://bit.ly/2be38Um.