Pulaski County’s bridges appear to be in good shape, according to the latest inspection report. Representatives from United Consulting presented their findings to the county commissioners Monday.
Jim Lesh, the engineer responsible for inspecting the county’s bridges, explained, “There are 72 bridges in the inventory right now. There are currently six load posted bridges in Pulaski County, no fracture critical bridges. There are six bridges requiring underwater inspections, and there are five scour critical bridges.”
The average age of the county’s bridges is 45, which is on par with the rest of the state. The percentage of bridges over 50 years old is higher than the state average, at 36 percent, but United Consulting representative Jeff Larrison said they’re generally in good shape. “Even though you have some bridges that are a little bit older, it’s nothing to be worried about,” he said. “There aren’t things that you really need to be concerned about at that point.”
Lesh said that the next bridge up for replacement is Bridge 257 on County Road 400 East over Mill Creek. “So that’s currently under design right now,” he said. “Design should be done later this year, with construction early next year.”
Larrison said the new bridge will be a bit bigger than the existing one. “When that bridge was built back in the day, you didn’t have the farm equipment that you have today, as wide and as big as it is,” Larrison explained. “So that bridge will be just a little bit wider to help accommodate the farm equipment, and that will also make it a safer bridge, so that people can approach it in a safe speed limit. But our goal, always, going into a project like this, is to minimize the amount of land that needs to be acquired. We’re just talking small amounts along the edge of the road.”
Larrison said the county won’t seek federal funding for the new bridge on 400 East, but Highway Superintendent Terry Ruff plans to apply for a Community Crossings grant from the state.
Other bridges on the replacement list include those on County Road 315 East and 250 South over Mill Creek, 300 East over Little Mill Creek, and 325 West over Indian Creek. The only bridge on the rehabilitation list is on County Road 135 South over Agnew Ditch.