Gallia bridges up for replacement

GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commission closed bids July 2 on a projected replacement project for a pair of bridges in the county.

Spires Road is a county road and has a roughly 30-foot long bridge. McCombs Road’s bridge, despite being a Walnut Township road, is still under the responsibility of the Gallia County Engineer’s Office. It is nearly 60 feet long. Both are slated for reconstruction. U.S. Bridge Corp., based in Cambridge, was the low bidder of the project.

Once all details and approval have been granted by Gallia County Commissioners, work is estimated to begin on the structures in late summer or early fall. Both bridges will be built for $763,080.

The bridges are potentially going to be made in the pre-stressed concrete box-beam style. This means the main beams on the bridge will consist of concrete girders in the shape of a hollow box.

Gallia County Engineer Brett Boothe estimates bidding to start on another bridge over Symmes Creek within the next two weeks on Wiseman Road. The bridge is currently 78 feet long and 14 feet wide. Contractors will either shorten or lengthen the bridge, according to plan needs. The width is anticipated to be increased to 24 feet, according to Jennifer Brown, Gallia County assistant engineer.

“Anything under 10 feet is technically a culvert, even if it looks like a bridge it’s (legally) a culvert. Anything over that is a bridge,” Boothe said.

Boothe stated that he was “very pleased with the way the bids came in. Competition is a great thing.” Boothe said he is always trying to stretch taxpayer dollars as much as he can because they can be used elsewhere.

Boothe noted pre-bid meetings are somewhat common with some of these projects and multiple entities will arrive or send representatives to take note of the anticipated build project. Because of this, it often promotes better pricing for the buyer of construction services. Despite there being only one bidder for the twin bridge project, Boothe noted the outcome of the pricing was favorable.

In February 2016, Boothe hopes to get bidding discussed for a bridge on Farmview Road, as well as one near the Bob Evans Homestead.

“I’ve got several other bridges we’re doing in-house (not contracted) this year, ” Boothe said. “Ohio Revised Code has something called the ‘force account’ law. The law states that a county agency can’t spend more than $100,000 per structure. That’s labor, equipment, material and benefits. We can’t spend more than that on a bridge using our own forces, otherwise we have to contract it out — specifically, a bridge or a culvert.”

Boothe noted this makes construction projects somewhat difficult at times because even if the engineer’s offices could potentially complete a construction project more cheaply using the office’s own resources, the law still states a project must be bid out to other organizations.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.