Flooding halted construction on the Bend Road bridge project outside Pacific in May, but contractors plan to go back into full swing in the fall.
County Highway Administrator Ron Williams says residents should not be alarmed about progress on the project and Lehman Construction is still well within the scope of its contract.
“The stoppage is not about flooding, or mussel beds,” Williams said. “The site was inundated with floodwaters. Because of this, Lehman had to pull out all of their equipment and crews until the river went down. To keep their guys working they put them on other jobs.”
Since manpower and equipment have been pulled off the site, it would be too costly to return just periodically to do piecemeal work since the employees and tools are being used on other jobs.
“Their next step was to start setting beams,” Williams said. “They were going to use the temporary causeway they built in the river channel to access the piers, but it was underwater until recently.”
Williams added, since the flooding, they were able to get back to the site and pour the final pier to support the beams and road decking.
There is some box culvert work that can be done on the fill side of the bridge approach as well.
“Instead they will bring it all back together in the fall,” Williams said. “Even though they aren’t working, we are still counting their days on the project.”
He added the contract with Lehman Construction called for the bridge to be complete in 320 working days.
“By the end of May, they had used 79 days,” Williams said. “That leaves them 240 from here on. They have assured me they will be back full bore in the fall and the bridge will be complete by next April.”
The bridge replacement project began last October. A mild winter and low river levels allowed the contractor to make quick progress.
Williams said the project is currently at 51 percent and the contractor has been paid $2.2 million thus far.
Building a temporary causeway halfway into the river also allowed crews to move materials and equipment to the piers in the water easily.
The project is the largest bridge project ever undertaken by the county, estimated at $4.3 million with an 80/20 federal split, leaving the county to pay about $1 million.
Lehman Construction Company, based in California, Mo., was the low bidder at $4,289,738.
Up to this point, Lehman had not done any other bridge projects in Franklin County because it specializes in larger bridge projects.
Williams added, in addition to the bridge itself, this project also includes about $1 million in road work and demolition of the existing century-old bridge.