County Engineer and Highway Department head Mitch Burdick spoke to the board about upcoming projects, including, which are at various stages of planning and preparation:
• The Jimtown Road bridge project in Plum Hill Township
• The County Highway 18 bridge project (at Noltings Road)
• County Highway 5 bridge project (east of Richview)
• The bridge on Locust Creek Road (in Pilot Knob Township)
• The Marissa Road Bridge (Lively Grove Township)
Further, “we are currently in the process of crack-sealing on County Highway 10,” Burdick told the board. “That will be ongoing until the colder weather sets in.”
Burdick also stated that motor fuel tax budgeting for 13 of the 16 townships was completed at the time of the meeting.
MFT budgets for the county itself and the other three townships will be complete before the end of November, according to Burdick.
Burdick said that he and his department, “have an ongoing bridge inspection process,” where they are always inspecting any structures with a span of greater-than 20-feet in length. County engineers check bridges in the county and township systems, and IDOT inspects those on the state roads.
Burdick says that he is doing inspections right now, and in the spring and had some dire news for the board.
“The bridges are degrading and ultimately, the bridges are degrading faster than we can replace them, “ said Burdick. “I don’t think that that surprises anyone.”
Bridge inspections Burdick and other engineers assign a bridge an “average sufficiency rating”, and Burdick said that ideally, even if one bridge’s sufficiency rating went down, another bridge in a system would have its rating go up as it was fixed and the average would stay nearly the same.
The reality of it is, “the average ratings ratings on bridges in the state, and the country is going down,” Burdick said. “Specific to Washington County, it’s also going down.”