Stronger barricades being put in place on JDC bridges

Published 10:39 am Friday, October 25, 2019

County engineer Les Dungan updated the board of supervisors on the bridge crisis in the county at their bi-monthly meeting Monday.

“Before I address specific bridges, we need to discuss some issues with the barricading of the bridges,” said Dungan.

“One of the things that has been a problem in all 82 counties is supervisors going out and closing bridges and then the general public moves the dirt and barricades and continues to use the bridge.”

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The state has set up a program where they will permanently close the bridge with a stiff baricade and pay for it with the county’s state aid money.

“It costs us $1,000 just in materials for us to close them ourselves,” said District 5 Supervisor Bobby Rushing.

The state will dispatch a vendor to come close the bridge.

“I strongly recommend that you take advantage of this because it will be closed in a proper way,” said Dungan.

Bridges on South Pleasant Hill and Sam Graham Road are currently closed. The state will come permanently close those bridges with baricades that cannot be moved.

“The most significant issue is the bridge could fall in and someone could get hurt. The second is the federal highway administration can deem us non-compliant which will jeaopardize our federal funds,” said Dungan.

There are 26 bridges in the county supported by timber pilings with no funding plan for replacement or repair.

Two bridges are in the design phase. “We have money allocated and are working on the design process to get ready to replace them.”

Four bridges have recently been completed or are under construction, for a total of 32 bridges with timber pilings.

“The total cost to replace all 26 bridges that we do not have a funding plan for is $8 million.”

To repair pilings under county bridges costs between $18,000 to $50,000, or more.

“The problem with that is, we might fix three pilings this year, then 10 more need fixing the following year on the same bridge. The best thing to do is replace the bridge if we can come up with the funding.”

The county receives $2 million per four-year term from state aid. There are 111 miles of state aid roads in JDC.

“You  typically use that $2 million to reseal your state aid roads,” said Dungan.

“This last term we took a big part of that and replaced bridges because we were in a bridge crisis, which left our surface maintenance short.

“We really need to take the state aid money for the upcoming term to work on our roads.”

“With what is left we might could replace three bridges. That still leaves us 23 bridges to find funding for.”

“That is our challenge and we need to come up with a plan.”