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County Engineer Discusses Bridge Postings

By Staff | Feb 9, 2012

Bridges and the latest bridge inspection and embargo were the topics of discussion during the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 7.

Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz shared that the county has completed a recent bridge inspection cycle.

“I have trying to get things updated in the Statewide Asset Management Program for bridges, get all that information correct, and get the postings out to you so we can get the postings changed,” Fantz explained.

He shared that one-half of the county’s bridges are inspected each year.

“It’s kind of a one step forward, five steps back process,” said Fantz.

Fantz highlighted each of the bridges included in the Bridge Embargo Resolution. Because of new ratings, the resolution establishes vehicle and load limits on the following six Palo Alto County bridges:

Bridge EB20, crossing a stream on 430th Avenue in Emmetsburg Township, load limit of 15 tons;

Bridge EB27, crossing a stream on 350th Street in Emmetsburg Township, load limit of 15 tons;

Bridge G123, crossing DD 41 on 450th Avenue in Great Oak Township, no posting required;

Bridge EB7, crossing a stream on 330th Street (farm entrance/private bridge) in Emmetsburg Township, load limit of six tons;

Bridge I63, crossing Cylinder Creek on 550th Avenue in Independence Township, load limit of 13 tons; and

Bridge I65, crossing a stream on 310th Street in Independence Township, load limit of 22 tons.

Fantz went on to explain a pair of bridges that will be included on the construction schedule for next year.

“Bridge WB77 south of West Bend is under 25 vehicles a day and it’s all local funds to fix that, but it needs to be done,” said Fantz.

He continued, “Bridge R73, between Mallard to the west and N28, is a steel I-beam bridge that has been widened over the years. The wooden piles supporting the abutments are pretty well gone. The outer piles are in acceptable condition. The super structure is alright, but the foundation is in trouble.”

“Who comes in and does that project?” asked Supervisor Keith Wirtz.

“We would design a slab bridge, hopefully one that would have 100-year life to it,” Fantz answered. “There’s a chance we could build that bridge using PRS funds.”

“Is jumping through all these hoops as a county engineer, what qualifies you for these federal funds?” Wirtz asked.

“Yes,” said Fantz. “However, there are two different ways how bridges affect our funding: our farm-to-market and our regular funding from the road use tax fund. Both have a component based on the amount of linear feet of bridge deck.”

With no further discussion, the Supervisors approved the Bridge Embargo Resolution.