Stone Bridge to sit over winter

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Rose Rohr with the Jones County Historic Preservation Commission was present at the Nov. 7 Jones County Supervisors meeting to discuss the Ely’s Stone Bridge restoration project.

     Rohr shared a letter written by Steve Intlekofer, a member of the Stone Bridge Foundation, with the supervisors, as well as a letter from VJ Engineering out of Coralville, in regards to revering ties with the project.

     In Intlekofer’s letter, he stated reasons why Rohr should step away as leader of the Stone Bridge project, as well as reasons the Foundation should consider whether or not to give the Preservation Commission funds for the restoration project.

     In October, Rohr informed the supervisors that the Commission had a $5,000 bill from VJ Engineering and a $12,200 bill from Rogers Concrete, both associated with Stone Bridge. During the recent board meeting, Rohr said she was hesitant as to whether the Foundation would cover the costs with donations and money raised at local fundraisers.

     “I talked to a Foundation member,” shared Supervisor Joe Oswald, “and they’re willing to pay for the work that’s already been done, as long as it’s not over the estimates.”

     “I won’t believe that until I have the money in hand,” Rohr said, citing a string of e-mails that came from several Foundation members asking to rescind payment to the Commission. “This is not how you do business, and it’s putting us in a bad spot.”

     In his letter, Intlekofer stated that Rohr approved change orders that the Foundation did not have the funds to cover.

     Concerning the letter from VJ Engineering, Rohr told the board they stepped away due to the deterioration of the bridge.

     “It has deteriorated so much since the (University of) Colorado was here,” she said. The last time the university was in Jones County was late this summer.

     VJ Engineering also stated that not only is the bridge deck unsupported enough to carry its own weight, but adding a 6-inch curb could severely undermine the structure itself.

     “Unless there is a redesign if the plan for rehabilitation by the original design firm, or the scope of the services is revised to include structural consulting, VJ Engineering has no choice but to terminate all services free of liability,” the letter stated.

     Rohr said Rogers Concrete had already addressed the fill issue underneath a portion of the deck, prior to VJ Engineering leaving the project.

     “It needed to be done and was appropriately done,” she said.

     However, Rohr said with nothing in the works before the winter, she would like to see something done to help keep water from running off the sides of the bridge.

     Oswald said County Engineer Derek Snead tossed around a couple of ideas, but for now the easiest option would be to place sandbags along the roadway to divert water away from the bridge.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach stipulated that any work done on Stone Bridge, including that of volunteers or those associated with the Foundation, must be insured.

     “The county should not be liable is someone gets hurt,” said Manternach. “We need to be released of any liability.”

     Rohr said Intlekofer offered several names of people who could perform the needed curbing work on the bridge. However, she said hiring family members of those associated with the bridge “is not exactly appropriate.

     “This needs to be done by proper protocol,” she said.

     Snead questioned what the Commission’s long-range plan might be for the bridge. Rohr said their goal is to preserve historic structures.

     Oswald reminded everyone that the board’s original motion associated with Stone Bridge was to preserve it according to DOT specifications.

     “We’re following protocol from the Board of Supervisors,” Rohr said. “If someone on the Foundation wants to do something different, I say no.”


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