Johnson Engineering updates board on county structures

Dawn Rye | Writer

During last week’s Turner County commissioner meeting, Johnson Engineering PE, LSIT, Dan Johnson updated the board on the county’s structures.
Johnson explained his office completed inspections on 61 structures in the county and delivered the summary to Highway Superintendent Kent Austin. He said they also updated the structure maps that get completed every two years. He noted two critical findings at the end of the year that involved trusses in rough shape and one crucial result that caused a bridge closure. Johnson explained recommendations were made to Austin to repair the columns on the structure.
Commissioner Mick Miller asked which bridge was that?
Austin said the bridge was out by Fox Run near the Bones Elevator.
Johnson noted one of the columns on the bridge on the pier was deteriorated to a point where it raised a safety concern. He said after the repair was complete, the county was allowed to reopen the bridge. Johnson commented that the bridge is posted at 16 tons single unit vehicles and 28 tons, including semis and trailers. He noted the county did reopen the bridge before harvest.
Miller questioned what happens when there is a critical finding and the county doesn’t fix it or what happens when a bridge collapses?
Johnson explained a critical finding means they contact Austin within 48 hours of their inspection and report the issue to the county and state. He said in the event of a safety concern, his office takes immediate action.
He said the county had a bridge inspected east of Viborg and didn’t find any new deficiencies that would require a lower weight posting. Johnson noted the state would be bidding the bridge in January 2021.
Austin said Johnson designed the bridge and they decided what structure would be bid based on type and location.
Johnson explained the other bridge that was inspected was the Davis bridge. He said the deficiencies also didn’t change to recommend a lower weight posting. He noted the bridge is still at the 24-40 ton recommendation for weight. Johnson commented the county did receive the P.E. grant and the weight will become an issue if the county decides to replace the bridge. He noted the bridge is 240-300 feet long, depending on the hydraulics. Johnson said his office has the hydraulic stage to determine requirements on the structure.
Austin said that based on the point system for the bridge’s replacement, the lower the grade, the higher the point score for a grant.
Johnson explained bridges in the BIG grant are funded at 45 points or higher. He said the Davis bridge has 32 points to get a replacement grant. He said the Davis bridge might be a $2.3 million and the county’s percentage is around $800,000.

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