FORT WAYNE — The Allen County commissioners agreed Friday to spend almost $100,000 on design work related to needed repairs of the Anthony Boulevard bridge over the Maumee River.
The bridge was closed for several weeks this summer after it was found to have structural problems. It has since reopened with a weight limit of 12 tons and fewer lanes, but officials said those repairs are only temporary and the entire upper structure of the bridge needs to be replaced.
In fact, said Bill Hartman, Allen County highway director, the bridge itself was never meant to last as long as it did.
“It was built as a temporary bridge in the late ’70s or early ’80s,” Hartman said. “Here we are.”
Friday’s proposal was to award Engineering Resources Inc. of Fort Wayne a $98,680 contract to design a new structure to sit atop the supports. Hartman said he hopes construction will begin in the spring; it will take eight or nine months.
Because of the way the bridge is constructed, with all of the structural members tied together, Hartman said the bridge cannot be worked on one side at a time so it can remain partly open.
“It has to be closed,” he said.
Commissioners Linda Bloom and Therese Brown voted to approve the award. Commissioner Nelson Peters was absent.
The commissioners agreed to changes in the Spring Street bridge project to incorporate pedestrian accessibility requirements. The changes will add $14,000 to the cost of the project and push back the opening of the bridge to Oct. 5.
It had been scheduled to open Sept. 28, but Bloom said pushing the date back a week will allow officials to open the bridge when all construction is finished, rather than opening it to traffic but still having work going on.
Also approved was a $305,430 change to the Diebold Road improvements, but the change will not cost the county any money as it is being paid for by Parkview Health. The additional work will add a left-turn lane to the intersection of Diebold and North Clinton.