Jul. 19—A bridge replacement project along 13th Street on Terre Haute's north side will be delayed until the end of the year.
Larry Robbins, Vigo County engineer and highway director, told county commissioners on Tuesday that concrete abutments, which support the ends of a bridge, were discovered to be too thin to hold steel supports on Bridge No. 322, about 1,740 feet south of Fort Harrison Road.
"The existing abutments that were to be used for the bridge rehabilitation were originally thought to be 30 inches thick but are actually only 12 inches thick," Robbins said.
"There was no way of knowing that until excavation work was done, so to remedy that we will form up a new wall on the inside," with the new concrete wall adding 18 inches to reach the required 30 inches of support. That remedy is the cheapest option, Robbins said.
Commissioners approved a $228,000 change order for the project. The county is covering 100% of the bridge project through its cumulative bridge fund, pushing the cost from more than $1.5 million to more than $1.75 million.
The change order also adds 106 days to the contract work, however, Robbins said he thinks the project, which had been slated to be completed in September, could be completed by the end of November.
Road blocks went up earlier this year at the nearest intersection to the bridge at North 13th Street and Elizabeth Street over Lost Creek on the north side and at North 13th Street and Carl Avenue on the south side of Lost Creek.
Robbins told commissioners that "when you don't have existing plans for these bridges, a lot which were done 80 to 100 years ago, you don't what these structures entail until you get out there and do the actual work," Robbins said. "There was no way to know the thickness of the wall without removing the approach and excavating that."
The bridge work, when complete, should last 75 to 80 years, Robbins said.
Commissioner Brendan Kearns said the increased cost will likely impact funding for other road projects, something commissioners will have to keep in mind.
Robbins said the county maintains all bridges, including those in Terre Haute city limits. The county maintains 200 bridges plus an additional 200 small road structures, which are 4 feet to 191/2 feet long.
"We just ask for people to be patient as we are trying to get this 13th Street project done as fast as we can," Robbins said after the meeting.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.