Contract OK’d to inspect 21 county bridges

Washington County Commissioners on Thursday approved a contract with Hammontree & Associates to inspect 21 bridges across the county by the end of 2014.

The North Canton company will focus on about 11 fracture-critical spans this year and inspect the remaining bridges in 2014. This year’s inspections and five random inspections will cost about $20,121.

“We try to do as many bridge inspections as we can in-house,” said Washington County Engineer Roger Wright. “With the (Aug. 1, 2007) bridge collapse in Minnesota, the state changed a lot of the criteria for truss bridges.”

The county also plans to do five random inspections and some underwater inspections to check anything that can’t be seen. The aim of the inspections is to make sure any work completed here is being done correctly and to check the condition of the bridges. Each bridge in the county is inspected at least every five years.

“The field work will consist of getting within arm’s reach of all fracture-critical members using a combination of ladders, climbing techniques and scaffolding,” according to information from the firm.

W.P. Snyder


Also on Thursday, the commissioners approved a contract with the Ohio Historical Society for $780,700 for restoration to the W.P. Snyder. The Ohio Department of Transportation received a federal grant for the project in partnership with the historical society. However, the commissioners are absolved of any responsibility. The terms of the grant require a local agency or entity to partner with ODOT and the historical society.

The project is the second phase of the restoration. The W.P. Snyder Jr. is the steam hauling boat that is the signature exhibit at the Ohio River Museum. The project will include replacement of the main deck plating, boiler deck plating and the ship’s electrical system and painting the entire vessel.

In other business

The commissioners also agreed to participate in a plan with County Commissioners Association of Ohio, an organization that represents the counties of Ohio, to get rates for electricity and natural gas for county properties. Washington County will pool with other counties, and the company will broker for reduced rates.

“We are agreeing to participate to see what kinds of rates we can get … then we’ll look at the contract,” said Commissioner Ron Feathers. “Hopefully, it will be a big savings.”

Under the agreement, the county will participate for five years and will be able to review rates before any contract is signed.

“If the county agrees to go with that, the townships can go into it also,” said County Administrator Paul Cunningham.