Price of bridge re­pair jumps 900 per­cent

The Community Connection - - NEWS - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

UP­PER POTTSGROVE >> The es­ti­mated re­pair price to the pedes­trian bridge to the back en­trance of Pottsgrove Mid­dle School has jumped 900 per­cent — from $35,000 to $350,000.

On Sept. 25, Pottsgrove School Board Pres­i­dent Robert Lind­gren, who also heads up the board’s fa­cil­i­ties com­mit­tee said, “the dam­age was much more ex­ten­sive than we first thought.”

Last month, Pottsgrove Fa­cil­i­ties Direc­tor Jef­frey Card­well told the board that the bridge failed an in­spec­tion in Jan­uary and at least two blocks of con­crete need to be re­moved in or­der to re­place the steel waf­fling un­der­neath.

He said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by a con­trac­tor found that three drains in the bridge had al­lowed water to pen­e­trate and rust the bridge’s steel deck­ing.

The es­ti­mated cost of re­pair was set at $35,000.

The con­crete and deck­ing need to be re­moved and re­placed, and the drainage sys­tem re-de­signed to pre­vent the prob­lem from oc­cur­ring again, he said.

En­gi­neers also ex­am­ined steel sup­port gird­ers for signs of rust and once a sof­fit was re­moved, the dam­age was re­vealed to be much more ex­ten­sive, said Lind­gren.

That said, Card­well said he be­lieves the $350,000 cost es­ti­mate to be a “worse-case sce­nario,” and he hopes to lower the cost to be­tween $150,000 to $200,000.

One way that can be done, he said, is to change the work times.

The es­ti­mate was based on start­ing work af­ter school let out. But start­ing in the morn­ing and mov­ing stu­dents who would be dis­turbed by the noise would al­low the project to be done more quickly and more cheaply.

Busi­ness Man­ager Dave Nester said the project, when com­bined with the $2.4 mil­lion roof re­place­ment at the build­ing and some changes to the HVAC sys­tem, put a pretty big bite into Pottsgrove’s cap­i­tal bud­get re­serve.

The cap­i­tal re­serve bud­get has been re­duced by about $5 mil­lion, re­duc­ing by about a third from $15 mil­lion, he said.

This ar­ti­cle first ap­peared as a post in The Dig­i­tal Note­book blog.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

The Pottsgrove School Board found out it could cost up to $350,000 to re­fur­bish this pedes­trian bridge into the back en­trance of Pottsgrove Mid­dle School.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Fa­cil­i­ties Direc­tor Jef­frey Card­well told the school board that he hopes to be able to re­duce the $350,000 re­pair es­ti­mate for the pedes­trian bridge at Pottsgrove Mid­dle School.

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