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Work to begin on 'curved' bridge

Repair project should be completed within 10 days

April 30, 2008
Repair work was expected to begin Monday on County Bridge No. 129 (the curved bridge) at Milltown, as the Crawford County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a quote from Gohmann Asphalt and Construction Inc. last Tuesday night.

The quote, for $38,921, was almost $10,000 less than another received by the project engineer, Butler, Fairman and Seifert.

Brent Roberts of the engineering firm said Norfolk Southern, which owns the railroad tracks below the bridge, had given verbal permission for work on the bridge but hadn't done so in writing yet.

Board President Larry Bye said Gohmann officials indicated they could begin work as early as this past Monday and likely could complete the project within 10 days.

Roberts said the bridge, which did have a highway weight rating, will likely require a lower weight limit, not because of the repair work but because of the overall condition of the bridge.

Bye said that while this work will get the bridge reopened, it's only a temporary fix. He noted the commissioners had already begun the process of searching for funds to either rehabilitate or replace the bridge when inspectors recommended its closing in early March.

In a related project, the commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the design contract for the new, two-lane downtown bridge at Milltown.

The contract, with a base price of $103,500, along with an additional cost of $42,500 for surveying and geotechnical services, if needed, allows project officials to proceed with applying for the necessary permits.

"This contract will take (the project) to bidding," said Bob Whoosley of Heritage Engineering.

The new bridge will be built just upstream from the current, one-lane structure and is expected to open in late 2009.

In other business, the commissioners:

•Voted to return Crawford County Economic Development Director Don DuBois to a contract employee.

DuBois had been a contract employee, but he was recently made a county employee after the IRS indicated he should have been one since the county provided him office space. To remain a contract employee, DuBois would have needed to be responsible for his entire budget and rent an office.

After being a county employee for a short while, DuBois requested the change back to being a contract employee because that status "fits the job better" because of the amount of hours the position demands.

DuBois will rent office space from the county.

•Approved DuBois' request to sign a letter of support to be submitted with an application to the state to have Crawford County become a Shovel Ready economic development site.

Shovel Ready status will put the county ahead of other locations in the state, DuBois said, because it speeds up the permitting at the state level.

Such sites, he said, are few, with only 30 in the state. The closest sites to the east are in Harrison and Washington counties, while the closest to the west is near Evansville.

•Voted to approve purchasing a used 1993 Gradall for $32,500 for the county highway department to clear ditches. The approval is contingent upon the County Council providing the funding. Highway Superintendent Lee Holzbog said a new one would cost $230,000.

•Were asked by several highway department employees to reconsider the county's new payroll policy of direct deposit. Some employees are uncomfortable with the procedure, which automatically deposits their paychecks into their bank accounts, and would rather receive a physical check. The commissioners took no action.

•Approved two Family Medical Leave Act requests.

•Voted to authorize application of an Indiana Criminal Justice Institute grant for Hoosier Hills PACT. The grant requires no monetary match from the county.

•Approved the annual contract with Purdue University for two Extension Service educators. The county's portion of the salaries is $37,915.

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