State legislation calls for re-rating bridges

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Despite having roughly 40 of Jones County’s 135 structures re-rated, Secondary Roads has to spend the money to rate every structure again due to new state legislation.

     County Engineer Derek Snead shared the news with the Jones County Supervisors during their Feb. 11 board meeting.

     “It’s to accommodate additional loads with special haul vehicles, which we rarely encounter,” he said. “But to be uniform throughout the state…”

     Prior to this new legislation, Snead said the county was working on re-rating its bridge structures anyway, with 40 completed. Now, Snead asked the board to approve the hiring of IIW Engineering to re-rate all of the county’s structures.

     “Now there will be no difference between the federal, national, primary and secondary (road) system,” explained Snead. “Load amounts have to be re-rated for primary loads going across structures.”

     Snead said IIW is quite familiar with Jones County’s Secondary Road system and all of the structures throughout the county.

     “They did our ratings the first time,” he said. “We’re extremely familiar with the company. We’d like to continue to work with them.”

     The new ratings have to be completed by the end of December 2021.

     The rough estimate to re-rate all of the 135 structures comes at a cost of $46,000.

     While the supervisors approved the request, Supervisor Ned Rohwedder asked if it went against the county’s purchase policy not going out to bid on a project like this.

     “It’s difficult to request a bid on something we’ve already done a lot of work on,” Snead explained.

     In addition, Jones County is unique because the Secondary Road Department includes in-house bridge inspectors.

     “Not a lot of other counties do that,” said Snead. “They hire it out.”

     However, knowing the amount of work that needs to be done and the quality, Snead felt it was better to hire IIW than taking on the re-rating project in-house.

     “From a professional matter, IIW is very thorough,” added Assistant Engineer Todd Postel.

     The downfall to all this, Snead said, is it could lead to more structure being posted according to the new rating system. But, that would not affect traffic traveling over them now.


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