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Springfield to replace bridge on busy street

Most of $1.1 million project will be paid from state, federal sources.

The city will spend approximately $1.16 million to replace the Bechtle Avenue bridge overlooking Buck Creek next spring.

The bridge sees approximately 15,000 cars per day, making it one of busiest streets in Springfield, according to traffic counts from the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee.

The project will be paid for mostly through grant money, including approximately $760,000 from Federal Highway Administration/Ohio Department of Transportation and $409,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

“We’re glad to use someone else’s money to replace the bridge,” said city engineer Leo Shanayda.

The city will spend approximately $49,000 to pay for design costs and changes to the railroad underneath the bridge, and it also received $196,000 from other sources, including FHWA and ODOT, to help offset costs.

Shanayda said the bridge has lower sufficiency rating, than normal and is in need of replacement. A bridge’s sufficiency rating evaluates a bridge’s ability to remain in service and is determined by several factors, including structural evaluation, functional obsolescence, and public need, according to the National Bridge Inventory Database website.

Shanayda said the bridge will be open to the public during construction, although the details have yet to be confirmed.

City commissioners agreed to an emergency ordinance for the project this month to allow construction to begin in the early spring.

The bridge work will begin in the early spring and likely won’t be completed until late fall, Shanayda said.

Shanayda doesn’t expect the construction to have a significant effect on the manufacturing-based businesses on nearby Commerce Circle.

Jane Switzer, the owner of Putt-Putt Golf and Games, 745 N. Bechtle Ave., believes the construction will have a “definite impact” on her business and other businesses in the area next year.

The seasonal business has operated from April through October the last five years, Switzer said.

“I understand it’s something that needs to be done, and we’re not the first business impacted by something of this sort, but it definitely will hurt, I’m sure,” Switzer said.

The contract was awarded to Vandalia-based R.B. Jergens Contractors Inc., who submitted the low bid. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $1.28 million and bids came back between $1.16 million and $1.31 million.

Shanayda said R.B. Jergens also recently replaced the First Street bridge for the city.

“We’re familiar with them, and we’re quite pleased with them,” Shanayda said.

The bridge to the immediate south on Bechtle Avenue over Snyder Park will also be available for municipal bridge funds next year. The city is expected to apply for grant funding to replace that bridge in the future.

“We’ll see how successful we are,” Shanayda said.

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