MANSFIELD — Richland County commissioners on Tuesday approved a $178,073 contract for the design of a Marion Avenue Road bridge replacement project.

The unanimous vote to award the contract to Richland Engineering Limited, which is part of the WallacePancher Group, came after commissioners met with county Engineer Adam Gove.

The bridge is near the intersection of Marion Avenue Road and Millsboro West Road south of Ontario, the engineer said.

Gove said the design work, and the actual construction, will be fully paid for with a federal grant administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“Our preliminary estimate for the construction is $820,000,” Gove said. “When you add that to the design services, you’re looking at about a $1 million project.”

The current Marion Avenue Road bridge over the Clear Fork Mohican River. (Richland County engineer’s photo)

Bridge being replaced more than 50 years old

The engineer said the current span is a 45- to 50-foot steel-beam bridge likely constructed in the 1970s. The new bridge will be a concrete box bridge that Gove estimated will last 50 to 75 years.

The engineer said the new bridge will likely be longer than the current structure. Gove said he hopes design work is done by the end of 2024 with actual construction in 2026.

“We would like about a year’s worth of (planning) time to acquire any additional right-of-way that may be needed for the new structure,” the engineer said.

The road will likely be closed for about 90 days during construction, according to Gove.

“That’s something that will be determined once we have the final structure and layout plans,” he said.

In other action:

Commissioners voted to delay the bid opening for a construction project that will allow the relocation of the Clerk of Courts and lead to the addition of a fourth Common Pleas General Division courtroom.

Bids were scheduled to be opened on Thursday. However, county Administrator Andrew Keller told commissioners that one of the companies planning to submit a proposal submitted several questions to Maurer Architectural Design Studio of Mansfield, which designed the project.

“The architect wants to make sure that all bidders have the opportunity to see the answers to these questions and with sufficient advance notice,” Keller said.

Keller suggested moving the bid opening to Oct. 5 at 10:30 and commissioners agreed.

The former county jail cells on “L2” at the courthouse have been removed and the space prepared for work that will lead to the creation of offices for the clerk of courts office staff.

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