The Louisa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $392,139 final design contract for the County Highway 99 replacement bridge at Wapello.

The new contract with HR Green of Johnston, Iowa, will cover a variety of work, including geo-technical studies, final bridge designs and cost estimates. HR Green also received an initial contract of about $650,000 in 2015 to conduct a variety of environmental studies, preliminary design and planning and other work.

Although some of that work still remains, company representative Stan Stallsmith told the board that he expects work under the new contract will be completed in time to begin construction next year.

“(This will) take the project up to bidding,” he said, adding there could be a bid letting in June and construction could start in July or August.

Stallsmith indicated the construction will take about one year to complete. That would include demolition of the current bridge, because the new structure would be constructed in the same place.

A key issue will be completion of soil borings where the replacement bridge piers will be placed. Stallsmith said boring equipment could be placed on the existing bridge and holes punched in its deck to access the river bed. County Engineer Larry Roehl said that will make a barge unnecessary.

Both said one-lane traffic could continue to use the existing bridge while that work is completed.

Supervisors Randy Griffin and Brad Quigley initially questioned whether they should approve the new contract or wait until Supervisor Chair Chris Ball, who did not attend the meeting Tuesday, was present.

After they agreed they want the project to move forward, they approved the contract.

FEMA - Puerto Rico

In other action, Roehl said he is waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Administration to contact him about traveling to Puerto Rico to assist with hurricane relief.

An email from last week indicated monitoring workers will be used until Thanksgiving. After their work is completed, Roehl said, he will join other road and bridge inspectors sometime after Christmas.

New lanes - Highway 61

During his report to the board, Roehl said the new lanes on the realigned US Highway 61 at Grandview are expected to be open Nov. 20. He said shoulder work is being finished, with striping and signage next.

Farm access?

Griffin told Roehl about the need for a field entrance south of 145th Street. Griffin said a resident who farms in the area had made the request. Roehl said the resident should follow the DOT’s permitting regulations to get access.

Grandview bypass

Assistant County Engineer Adam Shutt also reported a pre-construction meeting with Coles Construction, Keosauqua, is scheduled for next week. He said once communication lines in the area are relocated, the company could begin grading and other work to upgrade the dirt road to a gravel bypass around Grandview.

In other action, the board:

• Approved requests from Interstate Power and Water and Eastern Iowa Light & Power to construct new utility services on county right of way to a rural residence on S Avenue, Morning Sun, and for a site on 125th Street, Columbus Junction;

• Agreed to transfer $17,375 from sales tax to debt service to cover an interest payment for the Louisa County Jail construction bond, which expires in 2022.

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