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Bridge, jail projects

County board hears updates

PRINCETON — Bridges only last so long, about 50 years in fact.

At this week’s meeting of the Bureau County Board, Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Sondgeroth said Bureau County has about 250 bridges with approximately five of those bridges needing to be replaced each year.

For the current 2012 year, Sondgeroth said the county has five bridge replacement projects with those projects completed, or nearly completed. The projects were located in Arispie, Fairfield, LaMoille, Milo and Manlius townships.

The five 2013 replacement projects will include two Dover Township bridges and one Bureau Township bridge, with those projects to have bid lettings in March. Also on next year’s schedule are bridge replacement projects for Neponset and Hall townships with those projects to have bid lettings in June.

“The expected lifespan of a bridge is 50 years, give or take a decade or two,” Sondgeroth said. “We’ve got to replace roughly five bridges per year, given that scenario of 250 bridges lasting around 50 years each.”

Funding for the bridge replacement projects is 80 percent at the federal level with the remaining 20 percent handled locally, split equally between the township and county.

Sondgeroth commended Bureau County Highway Engineer John Gross for his work in getting the county’s annual replacement rate up as high as it should be to keep up with the county’s aging infrastructure. Six or eight years ago, the county wasn’t able to replace that many bridges each year, he said.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the Buildings and Grounds Committee Chairman Kristi Warren reported on several projects at the county jail and courthouse.

The $227,701 communications upgrade for the county jail is coming along well and should meet the end-of-the-year deadline, Warren said. The upgrade was needed to bring the sheriff’s department communication system into compliance with new requirements of the Federal Communications Center.

The $250,000 courthouse project, which included new windows, closure doors and an electrical upgrade, is completed with the cost of the project covered through a Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant.

Concerning the county jail, Warren said the new heating, air conditioning and ventilation system is installed, but there is still an issue with the booking area and the office for the chief deputy. To divide the area into two zones, with separate thermostats, would cost $3,140.

After discussion, the board voted to go ahead with the additional work for the booking area and chief deputy’s office.

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