Eagle Scout project
New bridge will be 'something lasting'
A dedication ceremony for the bridge L.T. Roth has been working on behind Waggoner Road Junior High School is set for Sept. 4. Roth chose to construct the bridge for an Eagle Scout project. Buy This Photo
A Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy student is finishing the 30-foot walking bridge he designed and built to complete the cross-country course behind Waggoner Road Junior High School.
"I wanted to build something lasting for the school and the community," sophomore L.T. Roth said.
A dedication ceremony for the bridge is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the junior high, 360 S. Waggoner Road.
Cross country coach Kevin Lewis said the bridge is "much more elaborate and well-built than I ever pictured or dreamed."
Lewis suggested the bridge project to Roth at the end of his eighth-grade cross-country season in January 2011.
"I told him it would be a good project for him some day if he worked his way up to Eagle Scout," Lewis said. "I thought it would happen much farther down the road, maybe when he was 18. But a few months after we talked about it, he got back with me and already had the ball rolling."
Lewis said the dedication ceremony will kick off the cross-country season, which begins with an exhibition race on Sept. 4, with students racing teachers and parents.
He said the bridge completes the junior high cross-country course.
"The bridge is going to be a fabulous addition to our course," he said. "There was a large chunk of land behind the school that we could not access. Now that we have the bridge, it will be a more interesting course to run."
Building the bridge also was a major part of Roth's Eagle Scout project, through Boy Scout Troop 277.
"I still have to finish two more merit badges, but I hope to get my Eagle Scout award around October or November," Roth said.
He said becoming an Eagle Scout means working up through six rankings and attaining 21 merit badges.
Prospective Eagle Scouts must also choose a project that reflects leadership skills and benefits a nonprofit or community organization.
Bridges are not built in a day, though, and despite donations of materials and expertise from several local companies, the building process stalled in mid-May, when drilling started to install footers for the bridge.
"We ran into about four feet of stone," Roth said.
The bridge is 30 feet long, six feet wide, 12 feet high and would have cost approximately $45,000 to $50,000 if Stantec Inc., American Electric Power, AT&T, Sunbelt Rental, Rusty's Towing, Lowe's, Quickrete, Simpson Strong Tie, Columbus Fastener, Natural Lime, Home Depot, 84 Lumber and EMH&T had not donated materials, equipment and expertise, Roth said.
Roth contributed $800 toward the cost of lumber, worked with Stantec on the design and building details and built the bridge with the help of volunteers that included other scouts and scouting units, members of Pickerington Church of Christ, friends and family members.
After the project stalled on May 15, Roth said he sat down with Joe Sullivan from Stantec.
"We were bouncing ideas back and forth off each other because of the problem with the bridge and Joe said he'd call me back, that he might have a solution," Roth said.
Sullivan put Roth in touch with Dwyer, a company with offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
"They had a single-bit auger that cut through the rock like butter," Roth said.
After a redesign of the footers, the bridge-building process resumed and will soon be finished.
"We have to finish the walk for the ramps, put in four rebars for the utility poles and finish the railing," Roth said.
He said building the bridge taught him how to talk to and work with professionals at local companies.
His advice to other scouts considering a major Eagle Scout project is "think big."
"Don't think anything is impossible," he said.