(Posted May 19, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume has a good feeling about the county’s chances at securing grant funding for a major bridge project.
On May 14, he submitted an application for $1 million through the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program to replace the Middle Pike bridge over Little Darby Creek in West Jefferson.
Because of its condition, the bridge can only handle 45 percent of its original load limit. Approximately 1,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, including farm equipment. Farmers with full loads have to take a 10-mile detour.
“After talking with the people at ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation), it looks like we have a strong application. I am hopeful that we will get the funding,” Dhume said.
The estimated cost of the project is $1.1 million. The grant program funds up to $1 million for such projects. The county will use gas tax and license fee revenues to cover any costs beyond the grant amount.
“These big projects are the challenging ones… We rely heavily on outside funding for them,” Dhume said.
The project’s estimated cost would have been closer to $1.5 million if Dhume hadn’t secured beams at no cost from the Franklin County Engineer’s Office.
The beams are from a bridge Franklin County replaced on Trabue Road in Hilliard. Dhume said they are in good condition and easily refurbished. Scheduling didn’t allow Franklin County the time to refurbish the beams for their own use, and the engineer didn’t have another in-county project for which they would work. So, he offered them to county engineers in surrounding counties.
“They happen to be the same size beam we have on the Middle Pike bridge,” Dhume said. “The existing beams on that bridge have deteriorated to the point where it is no longer cost-effective to refurbish them.
“That’s over 300,000 pounds of steel we don’t have to buy. It will save $300,000 to $400,000 on the job–a pretty significant savings.”
Dhume said he should know within a couple of months whether Madison County got the Ohio Bridge Partnership funding. If the grant does come through, the county will award a contract for the project in July 2023.
Federal gas tax revenues fund the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program which is administered through ODOT.
Paving and guard rails in 2021
Madison County has already secured federal aid for two projects slated for next summer. One grant will cover $2 million worth of paving on Rosedale-Milford Center Road, Cemetery Pike, Prairie Road, Lilly-Chapel Georgesville Road, and a section of Big Plain Circleville Road.
“Most of these roads have not been paved in 20 years,” Dhume said.
The other grant will cover $300,000 worth of guard rail replacement at various locations around the county, concentrated around long stream crossings.
Danville Road paving and bridges
On May 19, the Madison County commissioners awarded a contract to Cox Paving out of Washington Court House to pave Danville Road, located in the southeast corner of the county.
Dhume’s estimated cost for the project was $950,000. Cox Paving submitted the lowest bid, $775,331. The other three bids ranged from $844,982 to $913,315.
“The bids came in substantially under our estimate, so that was a nice surprise,” Dhume said.
Because the winning bid is nearly $200,000 less than the estimate, Dhume requested an increase in the project’s scope of up to 20 percent to increase the paving thickness from 1.5 inches to 2 inches. The commissioners approved the request.
A second part of the project involves replacing two bridges on Danville Road at a cost of approximately $350,000. Dhume said he will contract out the beam superstructure work. County crews will perform the rest of the work. This will be the first time the county casts its own concrete beams for a project.
The project is contingent on the state legislature reactivating Ohio Public Works Commission funding. If the funding is approved, OPWC will cover $1 million of the overall project cost. Labor, equipment, and materials provided by the county will count as an in-kind match.
Work on the first bridge is slated to start in early to mid-June. Work on the second bridge is set to start in mid- to late July. Paving is scheduled to begin in early September and finish up by Oct. 31.
Recently completed projects
The Rosedale Milford Center Road bridge, which runs over Spring Fork in Monroe Township, reopened on May 4, 26 days ahead of schedule.
The Grewell Road bridge, which runs over Little Darby Creek in Monroe Township northeast of Plumwood, opened in late April.