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April 3, 2014

CR 135 issues resolved in White Springs

Jasper — A $2.5 million repaving and bridge widening project on County Road 135 in Hamilton County has been resolved. At the March 18 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the board wasn’t thrilled when they learned it might cost the county an additional $606,000 to upgrade the bridge, as well as additional monies, resources and county labor to provide 176 loads of dirt for the shoulders of the roadway repaving portion of the project.

The bridge widening was the biggest concern because it seemed the only options were to lessen the load capacity, due to the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) guidelines that specified a concrete safety rail needed to be constructed. Reducing load capacity was unacceptable to the commissioners, due to the large amount of semi traffic that uses CR 135.

“After our last meeting (March 18) I contacted FDOT and set up a meeting to work out bridge issues,” Engineer Greg Bailey told the county commissioners at their April 1 meeting.

At the FDOT meeting were Bailey, representatives from the contractor Anderson-Columbia, County Coordinator Louie Goodin, Commissioner Randy Ogburn, Jordan Green and others from FDOT, as well as structural and design engineers.

“We were told by Green that complete replacement of the bridge was not an option,” said Bailey.

He explained that SCRAP and SCOP funding only allowed for rebuilding, not total bridge replacement. Bailey also said that after discussing all options, they found they could do some modifications to include cover plating of all the beams under the bridge, and building the originally proposed concrete railing, so that it would not reduce the load rating of the bridge. The cost would be $36,000, he said.

“There’s $105,000 surplus (now) of all the monies we budgeted and what we negotiated with Anderson-Columbia,” said Bailey.

The quote on the dirt, Bailey said is $7.90 per yard for a total of about $24,000 for the amount of dirt that is needed for the shoulder work, which will still leave monies in surplus after factoring in the bridge costs.

When Commissioner Buster Oxendine stated they were being charged full retail value on the dirt, Bailey noted that Suwannee County was being charged $9.50 per yard on a current project.

The commissioners voted in agreement to the plan as Bailey described, which depends on FDOT approval, and as long as it doesn’t reduce the load capacity of the bridge.

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