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$4,000 for Depot Park bridge inspection



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May 21, 2014 - A qualified engineer will determine if a bridge in Depot Park is safe.

Clarkston City Council voted, May 12, in favor of spending not more than $4,000 to city consulting engineer firm Hubbell, Roth & Clark to evaluate the "Timber Pedestrian Bridge."

Council member Sharron Catallo, who cast the lone "no" vote, said she would have liked the city engineer to answer more questions before the vote.

"Is this just to squelch opinions or is this because something is wrong with the bridge," she asked.

According to a proposal letter from HRC, the fee will include routine bridge inspection, and a structural load rating analysis.

HRC's bridge inspection will include inspection and ratings of bridge components as well as a recommendation of the bridge's weight capacity. The inspection and recommendations will be provided by a pre-qualified Michigan Department of Transportation team leader and a licensed engineer with over 30 years of experience inspecting and designing bridges.

After the inspection, HRC will provide a summary report of their findings to the City as well as work recommendations.

Last year, city resident Cory Johnston, a structural engineer, called attention to the bridge, saying it looked unsafe and was coming apart, and officials had not gotten the bridge properly inspected. On May 12, Council member Mike Sabol said his "yes" vote was not due to the criticism.

"I am not being pushed because of the critics," Sabol said. "However, if we need to do things right, I will vote for it."

In November 2013, Department of Public Works Foreman Jason Miller told the council he inspected the bridge and found plank boards cracking and screws coming out.

Last December, Miller estimated temporary repairs would cost $1,000.

Last year, Eberhardt told council she, Miller and Catallo met with HRC employee and city engineer Gary Tressel to discuss the bridge. Eberhardt said the city should perform a temporary fix on the bridge to ensure it was safe for winter.

Johnston submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents regarding the repair. He also objected to the way the repairs were made and said in his opinion there was not enough documentation that the bridge was professionally analyzed by a qualified engineer.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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