Harris Bridge Road span approved for replacement

Oct 12, 2012 By Christina George, Staff Writer

Fremont County transportation department superintendent Dave Pendleton got the green light from county commissioners to pursue options in fixing the Harris Bridge Road near Pavillion.

The crossing was closed in the spring when the culvert failed after Midvale flushed its ditches. Debris backed up a couple of feet around the culvert, which caused the road to sink.

At the Fremont County Commission meeting Sept. 25, Pendleton presented an estimate from James Gores & Associates that said it could cost $370,000 to $440,000 to replace the bridge, which connects Powerline and Indian Ridge roads. He said the crossing could withstand a 50-year flood event.

"This is definitely on the high side," Pendleton told the commission.

In the audience, Nancy Webber asked if Midvale would have to pay for some of the costs because of its involvement with the breakage.

Commissioner Dennis Christensen said it would be the county's responsibility because it is a county road. Pendleton also noted the original pipe was too small.

"My preference would be to look at this design," Christensen said about the proposal. "It's more than adequate."

Commission chairman Doug Thompson asked what residents in the area were using now to cross the waterway.

"There is no crossing there," Pendleton said. "We have not fixed it."

He said motorists currently have a five-mile detour.

Pendleton said if the proposed plan "was a go," construction could start next summer at the earliest. He said the alternative would be to install a small pipe that might not last as long and take the chance.

Commissioner Travis Becker asked if it would be wiser to rebuild before water volumes increase next spring.

"Is next summer the best time to put it in?" Thompson asked. "Can it be done sooner?"

Pendleton said a design has to be made, bids have to go out and dirt work can't be done when the ground is frozen.

Commission vice chair Pat Hickerson asked if the estimated $60,000 in engineer costs could be done in-house with a county engineer to save money. Pendleton said this was possible, but it would delay the project because the county engineer is busy with other projects.

Hickerson also asked about the impact Harris Bridge Road would have on the schedule for other road projects.

Pendleton said he hasn't looked but wanted to come before the commission and get direction about the project at hand.

Hickerson said some funding for other roads could come from the proposed 1 percent sales and use tax if approved by voters in the Nov. 6 general election.

"I prefer to see Dave (Pendleton) continue with this plan," Christensen reiterated.

Becker agreed, adding he would like to see the "domino effect" it will have on other projects.

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