Mayor Terry Short delivered some good news to folks who used to regularly travel the Florence Avenue bridge as a link to downtown Waynesboro.
The city, Short said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, has received the go-ahead to seek bids to replace the 61-foot bridge that crosses over the CSX railroad line. The two-lane bridge, built in 1960, brings traffic from Florence Avenue onto Ohio Street near Wayne Avenue.
“This afternoon I received … final approval to put that project out to ad,” Short said. “I know our community will look forward to seeing some dirt flying.”
Short also noted the long road to get to this point and the “hurdles” city officials had to clear.
“A 30-day review with the railroad that turns into seven months and a variety of federal requirements that seemed never-ending,” he said of the process.
The city expects to go out to bid on the work next month, with bids to be opened in July and an expected contract award by late this summer, said City Manager Michael Hamp. If all goes to plan, construction will follow soon after the contract is awarded and wrap up about a year later, in summer 2020, Hamp said.
Waynesboro needed the approval of the Federal Highway Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, before work could move forward because the city is relying in part on federal funding to pay for the estimated $1.8 million project. Local and state funding also will be used, Short said.
The city hadn’t planned on replacing the bridge this soon as all previous inspections indicated the span was sound, Short said. That meant Waynesboro had to come up with money for the unexpected expense, he said.
The closure also frustrated people living in the neighborhood as work on the project continued to be delayed. Multiple levels of governmental jurisdiction and accompanying red tape, including a requirement that an environmental assessment be conducted as well as an aerial easement obtained over CSX’s railroad line, added months to the process, according to city officials.
In February 2017, the city was still optimistic bids could go out by that fall, with the work to be finished in summer 2018.