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Bridge inspection cost rises

Much like the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the airline industry and homeland security forever, bridge inspection in the United States was enhanced greatly following the 2007 tragic collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minnesota.
Changes have been made to the Indiana state inspection process after it was deemed out of compliance by the Federal Highway Administration. The Harrison County Board of Commissioners learned of the changes in procedure and price at its regular meeting Monday morning at the courthouse in Corydon.
The total cost for the county-wide bridge inspection for the county is $111,000, nearly double what it cost for the last inspection in 2008.
The bridge inspection process occurs every two years.
United Consulting, based in Indianapolis, was awarded the job of inspecting Harrison County’s bridges. United also was hired by the county in 2002.
‘They’ve changed procedures,’ there’s quite a bit more to it,’ Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel said.
Adam Host, head of bridge inventory at United, said FHA forced the Indiana Department of Transportation to make changes after finding several issues not in compliance with federal guidelines. Host said the changes had to be made if INDOT wanted to continue to receive federal funding.
Host said every single member of bridges must be inspected now, unlike in the past. A bridge file that can be passed from consultant to consultant, something that doesn’t exist now, will be mandatory.
‘There’s quite a bit more data,’ Host said.
Luckily for the county, 80 percent of the project will be reimbursed by FHA. Plus, the county’s cumulative bridge fund includes $89,000 rolled over from 2009.
The commissioners passed an additional appropriation to the county council of $22,000 to fully fund the two-year bridge inspection process.
In other business Monday morning, Bret Dodd, RQAW project manager for the government center in Corydon, informed the board that he will provide bid specifications for furniture for all of the buildings on the old hospital campus.
Dodd said he hopes the Health Services building and the Extension building (old medical office buildings) will be complete between May and July. He said the county should move ahead with ordering furniture for the buildings, since it can be a long process.
Dodd did mention a few items that could be moved from the old offices to the new facility, like filing cabinets and some shelving. He said it would all have to be painted to match the new furniture.
‘We’ll have everything wrapped up and ready for bids in three weeks or a month,’ Dodd said.
The board also heard a complaint from Charles McKim of New Salisbury, about the county putting cinders on Race Street during snow events.
‘We don’t want cinders on our road, period. It’s a dead-end road that doesn’t go nowhere,’ McKim said.
He said there’s only his house and another, owned by his brother-in-law, on the street.
McKim said all the cinders drain on to his property and make a dangerous situation, and he requested the county either stop putting them on the road or come and clean it up.
Commissioner James Goldman said he’ll work on a solution, but the county can’t clean up every road of cinders.
‘The issue is it’s a county road,’ Goldman said. ‘If someone comes off of the private road and wrecks, seems to me we’re creating a liability.’
The board’s next meeting will be Monday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the courthouse in Corydon.