County hires engineer for covered bridge project

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Wayne Allen


PDT Staff Writer


At the Thursday meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners, a contract was approved with Jones-Stuckey Ltd. to do the engineering work in an upcoming renovation project on the Otway Covered Bridge.


“This is a contract for the design portion of the rehabilitation project. In selecting a contractor, we went through the standard ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) process. We solicited letters of interest and only received three,” said Craig Opperman, Scioto County Engineer.


Opperman speculated the reason they only got three letters of interest was because of the specialized work.


“There are only so many engineering firms that know wood structures well enough to do this type of work. We did a qualifications based selection (of a contractor), with Jones-Stuckey Ltd. rated the highest.”


According to Opperman, Jones-Stuckey Ltd. is a civil and structural engineering firm with offices throughout Ohio.


“They designed our Hayport Road Project in Wheelersburg. So, we do have experience with them. Our covered bridge is a Smith Structure which was the original designer and fabricator of the bridge,” Opperman said. “This firm has teamed up with another engineering firm for the design of this — J.A. Barker Engineering — they’ve designed numerous rehabilitation projects for covered bridges.”


He said every aspect of the rehabilitation of the Otway Covered Bridge depends on funding.


“What we are primarily trying to accomplish with this project is getting the leaning corrected and work on issues with a truss that adjoins the bridge. We want to get the structure structurally sound first,” Opperman said.


When asked if there was a danger of the bridge collapsing Opperman said, “I would not necessarily say that, it depends on what comes up against it and what mother nature brings to it. It’s in God’s hands.”


Opperman, along with others, has been working for months on efforts to restore the Otway Covered Bridge.


In August of 2012, a federal grant of $285,025 was awarded to fund needed repairs and upgrades to the Otway Covered Bridge. In order to receive the funding, $70,000 needs to be raised by the community as matching funds.


“As far as funding (local match) things are going, things look very positive. It’s a matter of what we can do, depending on what we are going to be allowed to do and what funds I can use and where funds are coming from,” Opperman said.


He said he and others are working on a lot of different aspects to this project.


“The covered bridge is going to get funded. What we are going to be able to do for other things that’s still up in the air. Things are progressing in the right direction,” Opperman said.


According to the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail, the bridge is located southwest of the junction of state routes 73 and 348. The bridge was erected in 1874 and was in use until it was bypassed in 1963. This historic structure is listed on the National Registry and was completely restored by the village of Otway in 1974.


For more information contact Norval Davis at 740-372-8320, Mike Seaman at 740-372-8888, or Jack Orlett at 740-259-5747 or visit the groups Facebook pages “Otway Historical Society and Otway Covered Bridge.”


Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or tallen@civitasmedia.com.

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