Commission discusses bridge project and rising costs | Government and politics

The potential increase in the cost of a planned new bridge due to inflation was the main topic of the St. Francis County Commission meeting on Tuesday morning.

Jeremy Manning, structural engineer for Smith & Co., reported to the commission on design and cost issues for a new bridge over Wolf Creek on Old Fredericktown Road.

“On Friday, the Old Fredericktown Road Bridge went to a bid,” he said. “The opening of the bids is the 29and. Hopefully with all the price increases we’re experiencing right now, we’ll still get a good deal on this desperately needed project.

When commenting on gasoline price increases by Associate Commissioner Kary Buckley, Manning agreed that prices everywhere were spiraling out of control.

“I reached out to some entrepreneurs last week and asked for their ideas,” he said. “One of the worst scares I’ve had is that a contractor told me he was thinking of 30-40% price increases. It’s hard to swallow.

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“It’s still a competitive market, there are still contractors out there who are still hungry for work. Hopefully that will influence at least enough to get prices somewhat close to what we’ve seen. There’s barely one year we saw prices that I didn’t know how they were bidding for it, maybe it was the fear of not knowing what was coming.

Manning said he set the price for sheet metal for himself last week and was told by the metal yard that the price had tripled in the previous two days.

Associate Commissioner David Kater asked Manning about ARPA funding, which caused a lot of bidding with not enough contractors to do the work.

“That’s a good point,” he said. “One thing I want to point out, I don’t know how all the decisions are made, but you guys as a county immediately took action and the thought process was ‘If we don’t move now then we are going to end up being behind the curve. Not only by engineering, but also by contractors, suppliers and materials.

“I got a phone call from a county that has money and they want to build two more right now. It happens every day it seems, I probably have about 15 bridge estimates to do right now. Yes, it’s definitely going to have an impact in the very near future. Whatever’s in the design now, it’s a good thing, you’re ahead of the curve.

Buckley asked: “…What do you think of these ARPA projects to be completed by 2026? Does this seem possible? »

“It is,” Manning said.

However, Highways Administrator John Gross added: “There are just a lot of changes coming at the moment. MoDOT is changing its structure on its BRO program. They really don’t know how it’s going to be. It changes day by day. Yes, we can program a bridge. No, we can’t.

“As early as Thursday, MoDOT told us, hurry up and get your paperwork submitted to schedule a bridge through BRO. Friday morning, the engineer walks into his office, I get a call at 9 a.m. and says no, everything is off, we’re putting everything on hold Who knows where we’re going to be.

BRO is Missouri’s statewide bridge rehabilitation program.

Auditor Louie Seiberlich asked about the impact of the delay in building the bridge.

“I think it’s only going to increase,” Manning said.

Commissioner President Harold Gallaher asked about the quality of the current bridge.

Gross said he spoke to the MoDOT engineer who inspected the current bridge.

“It will have to be loaded. School buses won’t be able to cross… They see evidence that this bridge deck separates from the substructure two to three inches as water passes underneath. Hydraulic pressure lifts the bridge deck.

Seiberlich asked if this bridge was funded by ARPA. Gross said that bridge is in the county budget and the expected cost is $700,000 to $800,000.

In departmental reports, Gallaher said Treasurer Parks Peterson’s sales tax report shows a year-to-date increase of 10.76% over last year.

County Clerk Kevin Engler reported that there were no new nominations this week.

Kater talked about the county seal contest.

“I don’t have any updates yet. I don’t know when the committee meets. They’re supposed to come back with us when they have choices. They’re reviewing 265 entries, so it might just be a little.

The next regular session of the St. Francis County Commission will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Farmington Town Center Courthouse Annex.

Mark Marberry is a reporter for Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629 or [email protected]

Aurora J. William