USFWS Malheur East Canal Bridge Replacement

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) called on Coffman to design a replacement bridge crossing Bridge Creek in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction with the development of a design-build contract. At the approval of USFWS, Coffman suggested a design-bid-build contract could be provided with the contract fee. This modification simplified the contractors bidding by providing the design for the bidding process. The result attracted 16 bidders submitting on the project.

Coffman designed an 18-foot span structure made from 100% post-consumer and industrial recycled plastic materials developed by Axion Structural Innovations. The new thermoplastic bridge is made from the equivalent of 866,542 plastic water bottles and offers many improvements to the previous structure, including:

  • Increased the bridge load capacity from 3 tons to 19 tons. (The bridge is limited to 19 tons due to the historic ungrouted stacked rock abutments built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.)
  • Highly resistant to cracking and warping caused by sun exposure.
  • More fire resistant than wood.
  • Resistant to most acids, salts, insects, rot, and rust.
  • Waterproof structure.

The USFWS was pleased with the final product and is looking for other opportunities to use thermoplastics in future bridge replacement projects.


  • Civic & Local Government


  • Bridge Engineering