Athens County Bridge Project Moving Forward

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A new bridge should be in place on Athens County Road 85 (Big Run) before the end of the year, County Engineer Jeff Maiden told the county commissioners on Tuesday.

The commissioners approved paperwork for the project at Maiden’s request.

The existing bridge, which is located just off Route 329 and crosses Federal Creek, has been closed for about three years due to a deteriorated deck, Maiden said.

It will be the Ohio Department of Transportation that puts the project out to bid.

Alan Craig of ODOT said the bid date for the project is April 24, and the estimated cost is $720,000. Nearly all of that cost will be covered by federal funding.

Maiden said the cost to Athens County will be about $34,000.

In addition to that, part of the cost will be covered by federal bridge credits which Maiden said he borrowed from Delaware County and which will have to be paid back. Credits are awarded based on bridge work accomplished without the use of federal funding, so credits earned by Athens County on future projects will go to Delaware County, Maiden explained.

The Big Run bridge had been slated to go out to bid in October, but Maiden asked ODOT to move up the project. Maiden said the work should be completed this fall.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners accepted a $63,720 emergency grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission for repair of slip damage caused by a damaged culvert at the intersection of Poston and Lemaster Roads.

Maiden said the project will be designed by the county engineer’s department, which will serve as local match for the grant. He said the project will be put out to bid in about six weeks.

The commissioners also authorized the acquisition of four dump trucks for the engineer’s department for $624,670 through a municipal lease arrangement, although some details remain to be worked out.