Butler County Engineer
Gregory J. Wilkens reports that construction will begin next
week to replace the Taylor School Road bridge near Seven Mile.
A contract was awarded to SK Construction of Middletown which
submitted a low bid of $993,665. Federal LPA funds will be utilized
to pay for the new bridge over Seven Mile Creek on the Wayne
/ St. Clair Township line.
A two-span truss built
in 1928, the existing structure was closed last February because
advanced deterioration of the truss had caused the bridge's middle
section to sag, making it unsafe for motorists. The aging bridge
had been posted with a 20-ton load limit and was originally scheduled
for replacement next year.
"We were already
in the design process and on schedule for new bridge construction
in 2002," Wilkens said. "But the plans were not yet
complete when we were forced into an emergency closure. Our engineers
immediately accelerated design and engineering for the new bridge,
and funding that was allocated for next year had to be worked
into this year's budget. While it's been a challenge, I'm very
pleased with how quickly we've been able to expedite construction."
Brush removal and utility
relocations have already begun at the bridge site. Completion
of the project is expected by year's end, weather permitting.
The contractor will be working against the calendar in order
to complete the paving before the annual winter closure of the
asphalt plants, which is dependent upon the onset of winter weather.
Local motorists should be prepared to wait until April for the
new bridge to open if paving is unable to be completed before
the end of the year. "We will continue to do everything
possible to get the bridge open as soon as possible. And hopefully
the weather will cooperate," Wilkens added.
The Taylor School Road
Bridge was not the only unexpected project faced by the Engineer's
Office this year. An embankment slip in February forced the closure
of Mauds Hughes Road in Liberty Township and July's flash floods
produced extensive damage to numerous roads, culverts, and bridges.
Most flood-damaged roads have since been reopened due to the
diligent efforts of the BCEO's Operations crews.