Contract for Columbiana bridge awarded

COLUMBIANA – A small bridge on South Main Street will be replaced this fall after City Council voted Tuesday to award a contract to Shook Brothers Inc. of Berlin Center.

Shook Brothers was one of two companies to bid on the project. The company, which architect Jon Vollnogle of Howells and Baird said does only bridge projects, bid $235,052. Mike Pusateri, a local contractor, bid $263,729. Council unanimously decided to give the project to the lowest bidder, which came in about $10,450 below the project estimate.

Only two contractors bid on the project, while Vollnogle said eight requested drawings and specifications for the project. One potential bidder brought back his bid 15 minutes too late and another told Vollnogle he already had enough projects to keep him busy throughout the fall.

Councilman James King asked for the time frame, questioning whether the project could affect the American Legion Street Fair, which is scheduled for Sept. 5-7.

Vollnogle said the project will take about 90 days to complete, but the street will only be closed at the bridge for 45 days. First, the precast bridge will be ordered and Shook Brothers will start preparing the site mid-August. However, the current bridge will probably not be torn out until mid-September. Foundations will be poured and the precast bridge will be delivered about two months from the time it is ordered. It then will be installed.

The small bridge goes over a culvert south of the railroad tracks, but reportedly is in poor condition.

About 60 percent of the bridge replacement is being paid for with a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. Fiscal Officer Michael Harold said the city already has the remaining portion for the project in the budget for this year. He had actually budgeted an additional $35,000 more than what will be needed.

In another matter, council voted to add a discussion of fire truck financing to the special meeting agenda. Councilman Lowell Schloneger noted the city charter allows council to add items to the agenda if five members vote to do so. An executive session was held to discuss financing options for the new ladder truck, which is going to be delivered sooner than expected.

Following the executive session, Councilman Bryan Blakeman announced council had been asked to sign a contract, but Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell had found the contract had some bad language in it. Blasdell had provided a memo to council.

Blakeman then went on to say one of the options council considered was using the electric fund to help pay for the fire truck, but had decided not to do so. Following the meeting, other council members led by Schloneger, objected to Blakeman announcing what was discussed in executive session during the public meeting.

Finally, City Manager Lance Willard announced the city cleanup is going well and will run through Friday. The dumpsters, located in the park, will be available late in the evening on Thursday. Blakeman noted a whole bin was filled up with televisions on Tuesday.