By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County officials will be able to approve bids on four bridge projects this calendar year.
Highway Engineer Brandon Simmons reported at Wednesday’s Highway Committee meeting that Illinois Department of Transportation District 9 officials have indicated they will have additional funding available to push up some projects which had been scheduled in 2015.
One of those bridge improvement projects is the Log Cabin Lane bridge, scheduled for an April bid letting. The estimated federal funds available are $192,000, with a 20 percent local match.
“It wasn’t scheduled to be let until next year, but IDOT called and asked about it. We told them it was ready to go, so we’ve moved the letting up,” Simmons said.
Falcon Lane bridge in Pendleton Township, which is currently closed, will also be available for the April bid letting, Simmons reported. Falcon Bridge is also a federal project with $168,000 available in federal funds which also requires a 20 percent local match.
One of the most anticipated bridge lettings will occur in June when the Panzier Lane bridge will go out for bids. That bridge has been closed since September when the bridge collapsed. Local officials weren’t sure if federal funds would be available to fix the bridge, however, following a forensic study, 80 percent federal funding will be available. Simmons has estimated the bridge replacement will cost approximately $700,000. During Tuesday’s meeting, a resolution for appropriating $38,000 in Motor Fuel Tax funds for preliminary engineering work on the project was approved.
The Highway Department will also approve bids in June of this year for the Goshen Lane bridge in Pendleton Township.
“That’s four bridges this summer. We anticipate being very busy,” Simmons said.
Also scheduled to go out for bids in either April or June is a DuBois pavement preservation project, Simmons reported. He said if bids are too high in April, the project will be re-bid in June.
Simmons estimated the county has used about 600 to 700 tons of salt during the most recent winter weather. He said the county still has about 700 tons — the salt bin is about half full — remaining, with another 250 tons to be taken in delivery in June.
Snow plowing for the year — in equipment and manpower — has cost the county about $90,000 to date. Simmons reported the department is currently two trucks down, one being repaired at the highway department garage; the other being repaired in Effingham.