Workers are already in the process of repairing the Gallia Street bridge in Sciotoville, just days after the city of Portsmouth received word that an inspection turned up scouring below the piers and identified the bridge needed to be repaired on an emergency basis.
Bridge scour is the removal of sediment such as sand and rocks from around bridge abutments or piers. Scour, caused by swiftly moving water, can scoop out scour holes, compromising the integrity of a structure.
On Nov. 23, the city received the report from Ann M. Griessman of HDR Incorporated, a firm that conducted the annual bridge inspection for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
During the inspection they sent divers to inspect underwater at the bridge piers. That is when they found scouring.
“During the underwater inspection, some scour issues were found that raise concern,” Griessman said in the report. “We were able to retrieve plans for this bridge to confirm that the piers sit on a spread footing. As a result, we are notifying you of the need to repair the scour found by Collins (Engineers).”
Griessman said the repairs are needed “on an emergency basis at this time.”
Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said his staff had a conversation with ODOT and Collins Engineers and they defined very soon as meaning immediately.
If the repairs could not be conducted immediately then the bridge should be closed to vehicular traffic, but Allen said closing the bridge, which crosses the Little Scioto River, was not an option because residents of Sciotoville could not turn east coming off of Harding Avenue.
“We were told that the repair not only should happen immediately but if it were postponed until next year there would be further delays because of the river freezing and/or spring melt and spring rains,” Allen said in his report to City Council.
Allen said, figuring the work would be over the $50,000 bid threshold his office was preparing to come to Council to declare an emergency and waive the bidding requirements.
He said he spoke to a contractor the city has used on several projects including road slips and that this is the type of work the company does.
The company estimated the work would cost approximately $35,000 to $40,000, so Allen had them go to work immediately.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.