Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
One supporting column of the Apache Canyon Creek Bridge near Ojai suffered concrete and rebar damage during the early October storm and flash flood.

After a Flash Flood, Bridge is Fixed in a Flash
by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 11/2010

The Apache Canyon Creek Bridge is repaired in a day. From discovery to delivery, a perfect blend of teamwork was the key to Caltrans success.

[Click on photos to enlarge and to view captions.]

Last month’s rain storm prompted a flash flood that partially damaged and temporarily closed the Apache Canyon Creek Bridge, which carries a 120-foot segment of the Maricopa/Ojai Highway (State Route 33) over the rural creek in Ventura County.

The bridge is 58 miles northeast of the City of Ventura and halfway between Ojai and Maricopa (Kern County). It was seismically retrofitted in 1996 and carries an estimated 420 vehicles per day, of which 10% are heavy trucks.

One bridge column was impacted, but it was quickly repaired by a skillful District 7 Special Crews structural bridge maintenance, led by John Valencia, bridge crew supervisor, North region; allowing the bridge to reopen to the public within 24 hours. The crew members are Jose Monzon, Juventino Rosas, Randy DesRosiers, Charles Young, Javier Fernandez, Standard Miles, Saul Remigio, and Gilberto Quinonez.

“The bridge crew’s professionalism allowed District 7 to complete the column repair internally - in a matter of hours- saving taxpayers thousands of dollars and delays for motorists,” said Dan Freeman, Deputy District Director, Maintenance Division.

The Ojai maintenance road crew, led by supervisor Michael Torbet, discovered the problem on Monday, October 4 – following a weekend storm - while inspecting and removing storm-related debris from drains and culverts on the state highway system. The creek forks off from the 85-mile long Cuyama River, which flows through three counties and through the heart of the Los Padres National Forest.

Knowing that a full or partial closure of the Apache Canyon Creek Bridge could impact motorists with a 120-mile detour, the Structure Maintenance and Investigations (SM&I) unit immediately worked on a repair plan. Edwin Mah, area bridge maintenance engineer; and Bing Wu, senior bridge engineer; - on location at the bridge site - determined that the unaffected columns would support the bridge deck and that one lane (southbound) could remain open for two-way controlled traffic to allow motorists to travel.

“From my experience, the high water mark on the bridge and damage high on the column, it is possible that a huge log ran the swift rapids of the creek,” said Kwan Lam, office chief, Structure Maintenance and Investigations. “Upon impact, the rebar bent and the concrete broke.”

The early October storm resulted in nearly $20,000 in repair costs to this 51-year old bridge that was repaired and reopened by the close of business on Wednesday, October 6.

It was a perfect storm – partly because it didn’t linger on to bring more flooding and damage and partly because it brought together a Caltrans team to work through delivering a solution – within a day and without a hitch. Perfect!

Bing Wu, Caltrans senior bridge engineer, conducts the initial onsite inspection of flash flood related damage to the Apache Canyon Creek Bridge in Ventura County. John Valencia, bridge crew supervisor, north maintenance region and crew members are measuring the jacking levels and gauging the pressure.  The stacked 12 x 12 timber pad beams are used to support the hydraulic jack and bridge concrete beam.  Crew members are filling tube form and vibrating fast setting concrete during emergency repairs to damaged column. The repairs were completed and the bridge was opened to traffic on the same day.