Bridge detour may be upgraded

August 26, 2004|by TARA REILLY

A county road used as the main detour around the closed Broadfording Road bridge might receive nearly $200,000 in repairs in a few weeks.

Public Works Director Gary Rohrer asked the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday to repair and overlay the entire 1.3-mile Gossard Mill Road to ensure the road holds up as a result of the increased traffic.

Rohrer said Wednesday the Broadfording Road bridge will be closed for about another year, which means the already worn Gossard Mill Road will continue to be used as a main detour until the bridge opens.


"To take that traffic for another year, I just have strong reservations about what that pavement is going to be able to withstand," Rohrer said.

If approved by the County Commissioners, Rohrer said work on the road would start in early September and would take one or two weeks.

The commissioners said they wanted to drive on Gossard Mill Road before they make a decision on whether to sign off on the approximately $195,000 in repairs.

The county closed the Broadfording Road bridge in June 2003. It was to be finished later that year, but a dispute with the contractor kept the bridge closed and unrepaired. The county and the contractor, BEKA Industries of Pasadena, Md., were at an impasse over the cost of additional work needed because of weather-related damage to the bridge.

The commissioners terminated BEKA's contract in March 2004.

The county has since looked for other contractors to perform the work, but the only contractor who expressed interest in the job wanted more money than the county had expected to pay.

County staff is in the process of negotiating a deal with a contractor to complete the work. Rohrer said he might bring a proposal before the commissioners at next Tuesday's meeting.

Residents of the area have said the closed bridge is an inconvenience and might slow ambulance response times in emergencies.

Rohrer said repairing Gossard Mill Road isn't an attempt to make up for the Broadfording Road bridge being closed longer than planned.

"It's by no means intended to be an appeasement..." Rohrer said.

Rohrer said the bridge's closure has created problems for residents and county staff want to make sure that Gossard Mill Road doesn't add to that.

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