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County Council OKs emergency bridge repair in Boston

10/4/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Problems discovered during a bridge inspection have led to a request from the Summit County Engineer’s Office for an emergency fix for the Akron-Peninsula Road structure.

Summit County Council adopted two pieces of legislation on first reading during its Oct. 1 meeting regarding the bridge, which is located just south of the Northampton Road intersection in Boston Township, according to Joe Paradise of the Engineer’s Office.

Paradise said load limit inspections recently found two bridges in that area to be deficient: the one on Akron-Peninsula Road, which goes over Robinson Run, and another on Riverview Road over Furnace Run, in Cuyahoga Falls. Legislation was introduced during the meeting to reduce the load limit on the latter to 25 tons, in addition to lowering the load limit to 40 tons on the Wright Road Bridge over Pigeon Creek in Copley.

The problems on the Akron-Peninsula Road bridge are significant and need immediate attention, Paradise said. One beam of the concrete bridge in particular is very deteriorated, he added, and the bridge’s load limit must be reduced to 15 tons from 60 tons for current use.

“We would like to have this done as quickly as possible,” Paradise said.

Councilman Nick Kostandaras (D-District 1) said the bridge is in bad shape.

“If anyone had the opportunity to walk under that bridge, they would see the deterioration,” he said.

Paradise said he has talked with several construction and design firms, and most said they are willing to bid the job as soon as possible so work could begin and be completed by Thanksgiving.

The first resolution Council passed gives the Engineer’s Office the ability to enter into contracts for the project without complying with the county’s competitive bidding procedures due to the emergency nature of the repair. That didn’t sit well with Councilman Tim Crawford (D-District 7), whose vote against the resolution was the sole vote in opposition.

Council also unanimously adopted a resolution to reduce the bridge’s load limit for the time being. Paradise said local trucking companies would be notified on the load limit, and he also plans to speak with local school districts about buses using the bridge. The bridge is safe for cars, light trucks, bicyclists and pedestrians, he noted.

When construction does take place, the road at the bridge will be completely closed and require a detour, he added. The project, he estimated, will cost about $150,000 for design and construction.

Also Monday, Council unanimously voted to endorse the Summit County Children Services (SCCS) renewal levy, Issue No. 73 on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.

SCCS Executive Director John Saros appeared before Council and stressed the levy is not a new tax.

He also told Council the agency now has 524 children in custody, which is about half the number from a decade ago.

“What we’ve tried to do is focus on being as creative and innovative as possible,” Saros said.

[See related story on Page 1 for more on the SCCS levy.]

On the late filing agenda but pulled before the meeting was a resolution of support for the Akron Public Schools (APS) levy, Issue No. 61.

After the meeting, Council President Jerry Feeman (D-District 6) said APS officials had asked earlier in the day if the levy could get Council’s support, so he drafted the resolution. Before the meeting, however, he reconsidered because several other school districts also have levies on the ballot.

Feeman said instead he encouraged Council members to express their support for the APS levy through individual endorsements.

Also Monday, Council adopted several resolutions regarding contracts for employee insurance, including a new plan for prescriptions with Medical Mutual.

Council also adopted a resolution confirming a contract with AE Security Group for security upgrades at the Ohio Building, where most county offices are located. The contract, not to exceed $66,300, will allow the addition of secure access points at 10 places in the building.

Summit County Council will not meet Oct. 8 because of the Columbus Day holiday. Council will meet for committee meetings Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, located at 175 S. Main St.

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