Knowlton Bridge project over estimate in Monroe County

Bids for 132-year old structure higher than expected

The bids for the rehabilitation of the Knowlton covered bridge have come in high. The county commissioners and Ohio Department of Transportation will look into further bids.

WOODSFIELD — The project to renovate a covered bridge in Knowlton on Ohio 26 past Graysville has hit a snag, with bids coming in too high. The now-unused bridge dates from 1887.

“It’s historic, and they got a grant to rehab it because it’s falling apart,” OSU Extension Office Associate Mary Jo Westfall said to the Monroe County Commissioners Tim Price, Carl Davis and Mick Schumacher Monday.

Westfall said the Ohio Department of Transportation sought bids, and but the estimate was in the range of $900,000, the bids came in at 40 percent in excess.

“So now the question is: are they going to rebuild it? Are they going to retool it? At this point we don’t know. It’s in ODOT’s hands,” she said.

During the commissioners meeting, Westfall pointed out that the county used this project as a match toward applying for a 2018 Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Revitalization grant for Washington Township.

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Monroe County Commissioners Carl Davis and Tim Price approve bids for community improvement projects around Graysville Monday.

“We got a $500,000 Neighborhood Revitalization Grant to do projects in Graysville, which is in Washington Township,” she said.

She voiced the hope that the project would not be canceled.

“I don’t know what kind of hot water that brings us in with the state,” Westfall said.

“It could be some serious consequences applying the next time. That might go against us. … I don’t want to penalize our next application.”

In answer to a question from Schumacher, Westfall said she did not know of any other Washington Township-based project the commissioners might apply.

Monroe County Engineer Amy Zwick said the availability of white oak for bridge material was one expense, and the temporary jacking and support of the structure was also high compared to estimates. She added that there was only one bid received.

“That’s being rejected,” she said. “We going to look at the plan to see if there’s something we can do to change it.”

Zwick said the bridge was in such bad shape as to be unusuable in its current condition. She added that she did not believe Monroe County would see any repercussion from the state should the project not move forward.

“That’s out of our control. If for some reason this doesn’t happen, that money will just be freed up for the next person in line,” she said.

The commissioners heard recommendations from Westfall regarding bids received for other Graysville projects.

“This is actually a grant that we applied for last year. It’s getting the projects bid out,” Davis said, adding that the projects were opened April 29. “There’s a paving project and a concrete project.”

Westfall recommended accepting a paving bid of $143,433 from Shelly & Sands.

“It is a little over our estimate, however it is within the 10 percent, and we do have money left over from other projects we can transfer over,” Westfall said.

The second project is a roof at the Graysville Community Center. Westfall recommended accepting a bid of $51,500 from Titus Miller & Sons out of Malta.

The third project involves new sidewalks an an apron at the township building. Westfall recommended a bid of $63,620 from Stouffer’s Construction out of Barnesville.

The commissioners approved each. Westfall said she hoped the projects would begin this summer.

“All three are supposed to be done by the end of the fall,” Westfall said.