Due to supply chain and fabrication challenges, Michigan contractors needed alternatives to MDOT’s metal mesh panels used for protective shielding (also known as false decking) to protect people and property beneath spalling bridge decks throughout the state. MDOT inspection and maintenance staff discovered a significant number of bridge decks with delamination needing repaired or replaced. Without funds available to repair immediately, a temporary solution was needed to prevent concrete from falling onto traffic below. Historically, MDOT had been placing lumber or metal mesh panels on the bottom flange of bridge girders to catch the debris that fell from the deck. Over time, they noticed the lumber would deteriorate or rot and was a risk to inspection staff. The metal mesh panels worked better for inspections from below, but they were heavy, expensive, and had limited fabricators capable of producing the quantities needed.
With bridge rehabilitation projects underway and contractor deadlines fast approaching, MDOT needed to develop an alternate to metal mesh panels that could be readily available, cost-effective, lightweight, simple to install, inspectable, and meet strict structural and deflection requirements. While special provisions existed for lumber false decking and metal mesh panels, MDOT needed to develop criteria for alternates and a testing program to ensure future systems could perform at an equivalent level.
TrueTech Bridge worked with MDOT to develop ClearCatch Panels, a durable, transparent alternate to lumber and more cost-effective option to metal mesh panels. Contractor C.A. Hall Co. Inc. partnered with TrueTech Bridge on the MDOT I-75 Under Holbrook Avenue bridge with 14,000 SF of ClearCatch Panels. The lightweight, prefabricated panels were delivered on time and installed quickly. With the successful installation and outcome for the first project, C.A. Hull has since installed ClearCast Panels on three additional bridges in the Detroit area.