For years, SCECO has been performing Routine Bridge Inspections for the Road Commission for Montcalm County, including the Wise Road bridge over the Flat River, just west of M-91 in Greenville. The structure was a 4-span bridge with a nail-laminated timber deck on timber pile bents and abutments, built in 1978. As the bridge aged, the timber deteriorated. As the timber degraded, Load Rating Analysis proved the structural capacity was reducing, down to just 20 tons at it’s lowest. Not only was the bridge deteriorating, the roadway alignment proved unsafe as several car crashes occurred damaging the bridge railing and resulting in fatalities. On behalf of the Road Commission for Montcalm County, SCECO sought funding to eliminate this safety hazard, sources included Local Bridge Program, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Small Urban Program. These funding sources provided not only a new bridge, but also pavement improvements from Youngman Road to M-91, a total of 1.48 miles. 

The design of this project included many different aspects:

  • Bridge design – 120’ span, 60” Bulb-tee beams, cantilever abutments on pile supported footings
  • Hydraulic analysis – River analysis of the Flat River, Road and site drainage
  • Meeting the many environmental requirements – DEQ (EGLE), FWS, SHPO, etc.
  • Design of several segments of different road sections – reconstruction, crush & shape
  • Curve layout and associated superelevation – meeting design speed requirements
  • Sign and pavement marking updates – to match current standards or improved layout
  • Driveway relocation and associated permits,
  • Maintenance of detoured traffic,
  • Development of special provisions for non-standard items

Road or bridge designs are complicated enough, but the length and alignment of Wise Road added complexity to the design. Many of those challenges also presented themselves in construction.

SCECO was also selected to perform construction services. Construction Engineering, Inspection, and Testing services were required to ensure standards were met. Significant challenges on the Wise Road project included springtime flooding, unexpected groundwater, and superelevated grades. The team worked closely with the contractors to ensure a quality, long-lasting product for the residents of Montcalm County.

SCECO continues to perform routine inspections of the Wise Road bridge to monitor deterioration as well as to provide scoping of maintenance or preventative measures for the Road Commission.


Road Commission for Montcalm County




Wise Road over Flat River