City of Washington facing $500,000 in repairs to Main Street bridge

Published 4:03 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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It has been three months since a vehicle recovery effort was made at Jack’s Creek in Washington. The recovery efforts may have exposed an on going issue with a bridge on East Main Street that will cost the City of Washington $500,000.

City of Washington Public Works Director, Hope Woolard, explained that when the bridge was modified 20 years ago box culverts and weep holes were added on the wing walls, and the approaches to the bridge were backfilled with sand. In layman’s terms, this means that two types of drainage systems were added to walls that support the bridge and connect it to the ground. Approaches in bridges carries traffic from land to the main spans of a bridge, as defined by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

In the last 20 years the two approaches on the East Main Street bridge have “settled” and the City of Washington has added “asphalt to smooth it out,” Woolard said.

“During the car recovery event at Jack’s Creek we believe it exposed an ongoing problem with sand washing out of the weep holes (a type of drainage system), which was probably the cause of the settling in the approaches.  This was not something that could be identified doing a normal visual inspection.  To remedy this we plan to back fill the area under the approach with flowable fill,” Woolard said.

The City of Washington will pay B.E. Singleton & Sons, Inc. to complete the repair work. At a city council meeting on Mar. 11, City Manager, Jonathan Russell shared with council members that $205,000 will come from the city’s general fund balance to pay for asphalt work and structural repairs while another $295,000 will come from the city’s sewer and water fund.

“We’ve been making repairs on this bridge several times over the last eight or ten years,” Russell said at the city council meeting. “The waterline does have some issues,” added.

During the car recovery, the Public Works Department was able to do a thorough inspection of water and sewer lines that run parallel to the bridge, because the water was pumped down in Jack’s Creek. “In doing so we noticed a small leak in the water line and that the support systems for both the water and sewer lines were in need of repair.  Since the bridge will have to be isolated to do the repairs we decided to be proactive and go forward with repairing the water and sewer lines as well,” Woolard said.

At this time, the City of Washington does not have a completion date for the repair work.

Washington City Council unanimously approved plans to repair the bridge. Councilman William Pitt left the meeting early; therefore, his vote was counted as a vote in favor of the budget ordinance amendment.