Update on Granby’s bridge problems

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Moosehorn, Griffin, Donohue, Simsbury, Hungary and Enders — Granby roads with bridge issues. The wheels of government turn slowly when it comes to diagnosing and financing repairs of these structures, but inspections have been made, problems identified and financing is in the works. Here is the latest on what is needed in each case and how the projects will be funded.

Moosehorn

This one-and-a-half lane bridge has a wooden deck on steel girders with stone head walls. It has been rated structurally deficient. There is a loss of integrity in all of this bridge’s beams, the worst being 86 percent deficient. The entire structure of this bridge needs to be removed, including footings, head walls and wing walls. Water diversions will be required to complete the concrete work. A bridge design engineer will be required for this project, which will require erosion control and permits. A large excavator and a crane with operator will be needed.

Griffin

This two-lane bridge has a wooden deck on steel girders with stone head walls. It has been rated structurally deficient. The deck shows signs of diagonal hairline cracks and the outside girders are rusted to the extent that they are structurally unsafe. The entire structure needs to be removed, including footings, head walls and wing walls. Water diversions will be required. A large excavator and crane with operator will most likely be needed for this project. This work requires the town to hire a bridge engineering company to design a structure that will accommodate the bridge’s needs, as Griffin Road is heavily traveled.

Donohue

This two-lane bridge has a concrete deck on steel girders with stone head walls. It has been rated structurally deficient. The condition of this bridge is similar to that of the Silver Street Bridge recently replaced. The entire structure of the bridge needs to be removed, requiring the use of a large excavator and deck placement may require a crane and operator. A bridge engineering company will be required to design the replacement. Erosion control methods and permitting will be required.

Simsbury Road (by Holcomb Ridge)

This two-lane bridge has a concrete deck on steel girders with concrete head walls. It has been rated functionally obsolete. The entire structure of the bridge needs to be removed, as described in the above paragraphs, including the hiring of an engineering company and the establishment of erosion controls and permitting. In addition, in order to meet the current road traffic standards, this bridge must be widened by no less than two feet.

Hungary Road
(nearest to Suffield town line)

This two-lane bridge has a concrete deck covering two large galvanized culvert pipes with stone walls. It has been rated poor. The entire structure needs to be removed, as described above, including water diversions. An engineering company, erosion control and permitting will be required. The brook in this location runs on the west side of the bridge; there is a swamp on the east side. This will necessitate a great deal of shoring to hold back the water while the project is underway.

Enders

This one-and-a-half lane bridge has a wooden deck on steel girders with stone head walls. It has been rated structurally deficient. Again, a large excavator will be needed to remove the footings, head walls and wing walls. Water diversion will be required. The likely replacement would be a pre-cast concrete box culvert with pre-cast abutments and wing walls. Enders Road is a cut-through for residents who travel from Route 219 to Route 179 or Route 20. Based on the condition of the entire structure, no travel will be allowed until the project is completed. In case of a fire or other emergency in this area, access will need to be gained several miles away in Barkhamsted.

Financing

The financing for these projects involves three different grant programs. Moosehorn, Silkey and Donohue have been accepted under the Federal Local Bridge Program, which will pay 80 percent, the town supplying the remaining 20 percent. Hungary, Griffin and Enders have been accepted under the State Local Bridge Program, which pays 50 percent, leaving 50 percent to the town.

In addition, the town has applied to the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP) administered by the Capital Regional Council of Governments (CRCOG) for the Moosehorn project. This program would pay 90 percent of the construction costs. Confirmation has not been confirmed as yet because of delays due to the state budget problems. 

The total amount for all six bridges is expected to be $14,658,500. With the various grants, the town’s cost should be $4,607,750.

At a Capital Program Priority Advisory Committee (CPPAC) meeting on Jan. 17, the town submitted these projects for consideration of inclusion in a future bond package. If the Boards of Selectmen and Finance and the residents of Granby approve this method of financing, design work will begin in 2019, with construction to begin in 2020. The plan is to do Griffin and Moosehorn first, averaging around two bridges per year.

The town will select an engineering firm (using the Quality Based Selection method) to design the reconstruction work. The next step will be to get bids from construction companies. The same company will not necessarily be retained for each bridge. It will depend on the timing and needs of each project.

At one CPPAC meeting in the fall, the town was asked if it could not do the bridge repairs itself. As you have read in the above descriptions, almost every one of these projects will require the use of a large excavator and crane, including an operator. Granby’s Department of Public Works does not have this equipment, nor does it have enough staff to devote to the bridges when it has a full schedule of ordinary maintenance to accomplish and is short one worker. In 1990, 2002 and 2005, DPW did some small surface repairs on various bridges, but nothing of the scope needed to replace these structures now.

Thanks to Town Manager John Ward and Director of Public Works Kirk Severance for help in preparing this report.