Franklin County has received news that the damage to the Bend Bridge is greater than anyone knew and will be more costly to repair, but Pacific officials say they are still on board to share the cost to reopen the bridge if the two entities can afford to make the repairs.
The county contracted with Horner & Shifrin engineers to complete a fracture critical inspection on the bridge.
H&S sent the report, signed by Tom Lohman PE, SE, team leader, to county officials dated Dec. 12.
Engineers examined the bridge’s metal superstructure, including upper, middle and lower joints, diagonal members, upper and lower tie rods, as well as north and south pier columns. The bridge surface and wooden subfloor also were inspected.
Any spot where the metal could come apart or showed signs of cracking or excessive rush was examined and photographed. The report included 34 photos showing the extent of deterioration.
“There was a lot more damage to the bridge than any of us realized,” Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said.
Pacific officials have been anxiously awaiting the report after they voted to share repair costs with Franklin County so the bridge can be reopened.
“What we need to know now is what it would cost to make the needed repairs?” Mayor Herb Adams asked.
Adams said he had never been fully convinced that the $35,000 estimate to repair the bridge was realistic. He said he always felt that a more thorough understanding of the amount of work it would take to reopen the bridge was needed.
“I’m not surprised that there is more damage than anyone realized,” he said. “I’m willing to wait to see what the actual repair cost will be.”
Adams said he feels certain that in addition to the inconvenience of the residents in the Bend Road neighborhood, closing the bridge had had an economic impact on the city of Pacific.
“A group of our businesses rely on that traffic,” Adams said. “I hope that city officials keep an open mind as we get more information. It’s my hope that Pacific will stay in the partnership with the county to repair the bridge.
“We have not changed our position about wanting to help re-open the bridge,” he added. “The only question is can repairs be made with an amount that we and the county can afford?”
If the bridge is not reopened, Adams said it could take a long time before a new bridge could be built and opened.
“We need to find a way to stick together,” he said. “Once we know the actual cost, Pacific can find the money to meet its share.”
There is no debate in Pacific about whether or not to make the repairs and reopen the bridge, according to the mayor.
“We want to do it if it is within reach financially,” Adams said.