By Christine Bryant
The pedestrian bridges at Pine Quarry Park may be replaced next year, allowing those who visit safe access to the western portion of the scenic park.
Closed since June 2014, the two 36-year-old pedestrian bridges were deemed to be in critical condition and in a state of imminent failure – prompting the city to close them for the safety of residents. Closing them, however, also blocked convenient access to the trails that cross French Run Creek.
At a November meeting, Reynoldsburg City Council members began the process of approving legislation that would allow the city to apply for an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant that would help fund replacement of the bridges.
Bill Sampson, director of public service, said after the meeting the cost to repair the bridges is $224,000, but the cost to replace them entirely is $233,000.
“We propose to replace the bridges with today’s steel Truss Bridge materials,” he said.
To help with these costs, the city will apply for a $100,000 grant from the Land & Water Conservation Fund, with the remaining costs contained within the proposed 2017 Parks and Recreation budget. The maximum grant request allowed is 50 percent of the project’s cost, Sampson said.
Donna Bauman, director of parks and recreation, said as of now, the replacement of the bridges is contingent on grant approval.
A hidden gem that features rustic trails and natural areas, the 39-acre park is located east of Waggoner Road and north of East Main Street. It is accessed through a small parking lot located on the west end of Kingsley Drive.
“We have had some residents inquire about the status of the bridges and when they would be replaced,” Bauman said.
The grant is awarded in early 2017, but even if the city is successful in its bid, the project would need to be advertised and bid on before work could commence.
Replacement of the bridges could begin mid-summer next year, though Bauman said this would be an approximate start date.
Currently, each is a 50-foot single-span Truss bridge supported on reinforced concrete stub-type abutments, Sampson said. In April of this year, he initiated a detailed inspection of the structures by the city’s engineering consultant to evaluate their physical condition and determine if they can be either repaired or replaced, and then re-opened to the public.
If new bridges are constructed, the city will implement a bi-annual inspection and maintenance program, he said.
“This will follow the guidelines detailed in the Ohio Department of Transportation Manual of Bridge Inspection,” Sampson said.
ODOT certified bridge inspectors will perform inspections on the bridges, which are categorized by ODOT as non-highway bridge structures, he said.
Sampson said he plans on staying in contact with ODNR during the agency’s evaluation and grant selection process.
“Seeking out grant funding is a high priority,” he said. “The opportunity to share the costs of these infrastructure improvement projects is a win-win for the city.”
how interesting, it would open a whole new and exciting area for residents to enjoy.