Expensive Bridge Repairs Needed in Sandown

SANDOWN – Sandown has only three bridges it’s responsible for, but two-thirds of those need significant repair.
Director of Public Works Artie Genualdo met with the board of selectmen on Monday, Sept. 23, to update them on the condition of both the Fremont Road bridge and Phillips Road bridge.
Genualdo has been working with Hoyle, Tanner and Associates to help him get a good idea of what needs to be done on the bridges and on Monday, both Frank Wells and Matt Low from the company were with him.

The Fremont Road Bridge is the less serious of the two bridges, but the one that seems to have the best chance of getting work done to it soon. The structure is at the end of next year’s road improvement plan phase, and on Monday Genualdo said he was hoping to roll it into the project.
As a result of increased stormwater runoff, portions of the bridge’s base have begun to be scoured out.
While Genualdo said it was wise to do the work when the road itself was being fixed, Low said, in answer to a selectman’s question, that another year wouldn’t make a difference in bridge soundness. But he noted it should be checked after heavy runoff events.
The estimated cost of the Fremont Road project is $90,000. Genualdo and Wells noted that the cost is $90,000 now, but each year that price tag will go up.
The bridge on Phillips Road has been red listed by the state. It was added to the list in June 2011, explained Low.
A galvanized steel culvert has begun to rot out, causing a gap between it and the concrete foundations. The bridge was constructed in 1979, and on its most recent inspection received a score of four out of 10 from the state. When a bridge hits three out of ten, it gets detoured around, said Low.
Low estimated the town could get another three to five years out of the bridge before the state required it to be closed.
There’s an approximate $400,000 price tag for repairs, but that estimate was done 10 years ago.
Low said the town should continue to push for the bridge to be repaired through the state’s Bridge Aid Program, an 80/20 reimbursement grant. While that process was nominally begun in 2003, since then it has been idle, but Low noted that with long turnaround times, it was wise to start that process again.
Low said his company often helps municipalities navigate the process. He estimated that if the bridge were accepted the next day into the state’s repair schedule, it would still be about 2020 before work began.
The next step in participating in the Bridge Aid Program is to have the legislative body set aside some money for the project to show the state that it’s serious about fixing the structure.
The board made no decisions on either bridge Monday.

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