10/4/2017 1:16:00 PM Covington Council Updated On Rayon Drive, Hawthorne Street Bridge Repairs
The Rayon Drive Bridge in Covington is in need of repairs. During Tuesday evening’s Covington City Council meeting, repair work was outlined for the bridge, along with work needed to repair the East Hawthorne Street Bridge. Previous cost estimates to repair the Rayon Drive Bridge have been set at $1.5 million. When repairs begin, the bridge could be closed for up to a year. (Gavin Dressler Photo)
Covington City Council was updated on bridge repairs needed throughout the city during Tuesday’s work session.
This discussion was led by guest presenter Chad Thomas, who has worked with the city on prior projects.
Thomas discussed work needed on the Rayon Drive Bridge and the East Haw-thorne Street Bridge that crosses the railroad tracks.
Thomas serves as a partner of the Roanoke office of Mattern & Craig.
He also stated that he is the head of the bridge and structure division and the Roanoke office was responsible for bridge and structure work.
Thomas’ presentation focused on the two Covington bridges that are currently under contract to place bid documents for bridge repairs.
The first bridge Thomas discussed was the bridge on East Hawthorne Street.
“That bridge actually has a fiber reinforced plastic deck, which is sort of odd,” Thomas said.
Thomas continued describing the current state of the bridge by stating, “The bridge is considered fractured critical, which means in this particular case it has two tresses. If one of those tresses were to fail, the bridge could possibly collapse.”
Thomas then said this situation puts more emphasis on inspectional structure and what type of techniques are used to inspect bridges.
Thomas then touched on the fiber reinforced deck of the bridge again by stating that the Virginia Department of Transportation installed that during a rehab project in 2004.
Thomas also said of VDOT that they have a vested interest in the current repair project, and hopes that the repairs are successful.
Repairs include installing a new overlay on the fiber reinforced plastic deck, railings, replacing panel pads, installing of devices to keep the pads in place and minor concrete and erosion repairs.
No cost estimates have been made on these repairs.
The second bridge Thomas discussed was the Rayon Drive Bridge.
“When I interviewed for the general engineering services contract, one of the things I brought up during the interview was a VDOT program called the State of Good Repair Program,” Thomas said.
Thomas explained that this program is meant to fund locally managed bridge and pavement work.
He also said that eligible structures and roads need to be submitted for the program’s consideration.
In order to be eligible to have bridge repair covered, Thomas said that the bridge would have to be deemed structurally deficient.
An example of this would be a bridge inspection report stating the deck, the superstructure or the substructure would have to be rated four, which is poor condition.
“Right now, the Rayon Bridge deck is rated five,” Thomas said.
Thomas also said the difference between a five rating and a four rating is subjective.
Covington Vice Mayor David Crosier asked Thomas what it would take for the Rayon Drive Bridge to get the four (poor) rating, and Thomas informed him that it wouldn’t take much more and that it is close to a poor rating.
Thomas then stated some criteria for the repair of the Rayon Drive Bridge.
He said that in order for the deck to be repaired, a total of 15 percent of the deck area needs to be deteriorated and the Rayon Drive Bridge has 25 percent deck deterioration.
Thomas said that in addition to finding out the amount of deck deteriorated and collection of other data, he was not surprised that the deck would need replacing.
Thomas hopes that the new data that was collected would help in getting the bridge down to the four or poor rating to get the fully funded bridge repair via the State of Good Repair Program.
Covington Mayor Tom Sibold, who recently retired from service at VDOT, stated to Thomas, “I want to start talking to VDOT. I know several of the managers at VDOT and I want to say: ‘Look, this is where we’re at with this bridge, and we need some help.’ Sometimes that helps to work it along a little bit.”
Thomas responded, “This bridge, if it were eligible for funding, it would be a very good candidate.”
Thomas concluded his talk about the Rayon Drive Bridge by stating that if they were to close off the bridge entirely to complete repairs, the bridge would be out of service for around one year.
Previous cost estimates to repair the Rayon Drive Bridge have been set at approximately $1.5 million.
After the discussion of the Rayon Drive Bridge, the talk about bridges shifted back to East Hawthorne Street as Crosier and Councilman Bill Zimmerman voiced concern over the state of the bridge.
Zimmerman stated, “On the Hawthorne Street Bridge, I’m really perplexed. That was a brand new bridge, brand new technology, lightweight technology and a major university came through with it. Are they doing the same standards on bridges as they did with that one? It was supposed to last a long time.”
Crosier then said, “I have to back him [Zimmerman] up. I was reporting and I remember sitting in meetings and the representatives said how great this was, how long it was going to last and it was going to last years, decades, this type of thing.”
Zimmerman said that the technology would be able to withstand the weight of various vehicles.
Crosier then asked if everything was so experimental at the time that they did not know what they were getting into.
Thomas stated that while he did not work on that project, he thought the engineers went with the thought process of using a fiber reinforced plastic deck would make the bridge weigh less and be able to handle more weight.
Crosier then posed a question by asking, “Is it worse because of the railroad being so close underneath and vehicle traffic on top?”
Thomas told him that could be the case, but it was likely the vehicle traffic was causing the problems on the bridge.
The following items will be placed on the agenda for the regular meeting to take place Tuesday, Oct. 10:
— Public hearing regarding abandonment of Riverton Road;
— Public hearing regarding radio system financing and procurement;