If things go as planned, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will be inspecting bridges owned by the city of Portsmouth in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
For years, ODOT conducted all bridge inspections, even those bridges within the municipalities.
“Beginning several years ago, prior to 2007, the city of Portsmouth became responsible for inspecting bridges located within the municipal corporation limits,” Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said. “Each year the city contracted with an engineering firm to conduct bridge inspections. In 2014 the annual inspection of bridges reverted back to ODOT.”
The city opted into the program, which started in 2014. That is about to end in December, so ODOT is in the process of renewing the program for three more years, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Allen said ODOT is in the process of hiring four consultants to perform similar tasks as before, such as bridge inspections, load ratings and any other requirements set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in the 23 metrics. Because of that, ODOT will need new legislation to renew the agreement between ODOT and the city of Portsmouth.
In the agreement, ODOT will pay 100 percent of the cost of annual bridge inspections. That should translate into savings for the city of Portsmouth.
“I think we paid $2,000 or $3,000 a year for the inspections,” Allen said.
When ODOT announced it was closing the U.S. Grant Bridge for maintenance, the question came up as to whether the city discussed possible closings with ODOT before they occur.
As Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said in a previous comment on the 52 paving project, a pre-construction meeting is always held by ODOT to discuss issues before the process begins.
Allen is requesting City Council suspend the rule that an ordinance must be read on three separate occasions, and pass the legislation when it comes up for a first reading, because ODOT has indicated they need it back as soon as possible.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.