County opens bids to replace bridge

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners opened bids on Thursday to replace a bridge that was closed seven years ago.

County Engineer James Branagan said a temporary bridge on Mingo Junction-Goulds Road was put in place in 2011.

Branagan at the time was able to secure federal highway money for the project but it takes six years to receive the funds.

The new bridge was estimated to cost $2,190,369. Four bids were received, with Shelly & Sands of Rayland the apparent low bidder at $1,699,434.

It is the second large bridge to recently be replaced on the road, Branagan said. The other bridge also was expected to cost $2 million but the project was done for about $1.5 million.

The county had a “bridge crisis” years ago and emphasis was placed on poorly rated structures. He said the temporary bridge was considered to be in good shape, so he said opted to fix other spans and waited for the federal highway money to arrive.

Branagan said the bridge design was done by the engineer’s department, saving about $300,000. The bridge is about 130 feet long. He noted the department had to deal with two railroad companies for rights of way, further delaying the project.

“It was a real nightmare to design,” he said.

The county has participated in the federal bridge credit program for years allowing the county to build up enough funds to pay for 95 percent of the bridge’s cost.

In other matters, Commissioner Tom Gentile again spoke against the performance of the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority. Last week he complained that a recent JMHA meeting lasted only a couple of minutes and the public wasn’t allowed to speak.

Gentile said he was going to have a conference call on Thursday with a representative of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and the federal Housing and Urban Development.

Gentile said he is concerned about the safety of JMHA residents and whether its board is efficiently spending money. He noted it can take months for a vacant apartment to be renovated prior to a new tenant moving in.

Commissioners have one of the five appointments to the board. Tony Morelli, the commissioners’ appointee, was to be at the meeting on Thursday but was unable to attend because of a scheduling conflict.

Commissioner David Maple said he wants JMHA to improve its operation.

“It feels like we are in year 10 of noise and it isn’t good noise coming out of JMHA. It would be good to get that organization to run well,” he said.

Commissioners also said they want to begin negotiations with Mingo Junction on treatment of sewerage from the Georges Run area. The village provides water to the area, with the county having sanitary sewers. The village bills the county for sewerage treatment costs based on a sewer meter.

Commissioners want the sewer costs to be based on the water the residents use.

There is an influx of stormwater going into the sewers, increasing the cost to the county, it was noted.

Mike Eroshevich, county water and sewer department director, said he had to increase appropriations for the Georges Run sewer costs this year, adding a new sewer meter was installed in December and it appears to be accurately measuring the sewerage.

In other business, commissioners:

¯ Were informed by the Ohio Department of Development that Dillonvale has received a $209,900 Community Development Block Grant to make structural and roof repairs to the village community center.

¯ Announced meeting day changes at the beginning of October because of scheduling conflicts. The board will meet on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, with both meetings starting at 3 p.m.