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Hole closes bridge; fix weeks away

Another 10 to 15 in similar condition in county

Staff writer

Construction of a new bridge to replace one with an 18-inch-long hole and nearly 100 years old is three weeks away for one of several county bridges showing signs of deterioration.

County road and bridge crews closed a bridge spanning Turkey Creek on Turkey Creek Rd. southwest of Marion County Lake on Monday after receiving calls Oct. 17 about a hole in its deck.

Commissioners met with road and bridge supervisor Jesse Hamm in a special meeting Thursday — two days after the initial call — to discuss options.

“It has to come down,” Hamm said. “There is no repairing this because the abutments, everything is bad on it. It’s just going to continue crumbling.”

It is unknown what caused the hole in the bridge, which was built in 1920.

Hamm said crews have inspected the bridge, which has a hole in its deck 18 inches long and 6 inches wide. They placed a large metal plate over the hole and reduced traffic flow to one lane on the other side of the bridge.

The bridge remained open over the weekend to accommodate family and friends of Mick Summervill, whose funeral was Friday. The Summervill residence driveway is just south of the bridge.

Even before the hole appeared in the deck of the bridge, state-mandated inspections said to consider replacing the bridge, Hamm said. However, there was not timeline to replace it.

According to the National Bridge Inventory database, the bridge received a structurally deficient evaluation and 32.5 sufficiency rating percentage in a November 2014 inspection.

While this bridge had a sufficiency rating percentage in the low 30s, Hamm said others in the county are in the low 20s.

Hamm said about 10 to 15 of 285 bridges overseen by the county were in similar condition and should be replaced.

He said several bridges need preventative maintenance, such as inspections for cracking and concrete patch jobs.

Of three options presented by Hamm, commissioners went with an option the county has yet to try: steel railroad oil tanker cars cut in half.

A full tanker was used for a bridge on 160th Rd. just southwest of the one with the hole. The tankers will allow more water through and are cheaper than precast reinforced concrete boxes.

Three 30-feet long tanker sections delivered on-site cost $21,150. The company, The Railyard Inc. in Stillwater, Oklahoma, also welds a headwall and floor onto the tankers. Hamm said they could be delivered within three weeks of Oct. 18 — now only two weeks away.

County crews will remove the bridge and establish a base before installing the tankers and weld the seams, then backfilling the area with dirt and rock.

“This project is something I have been wanting to find a place to do this to, see how it works out,” Hamm said. “I was shocked to hear the price, I thought it would be a lot more. Just a regular 10-foot tube 30-foot long is $13,000-$14,000 for just one.”

Last modified Oct. 26, 2017

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