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Lake Vesuvius bridge project moves forward

PEDRO — The project to replace the bridge at the entrance of Lake Vesuvius is expected to go out to bid in the next two weeks.

“The project itself and the design have been completed and approved by the county engineer,” according to Tim Slone, ranger for the Ironton district of the Wayne National Forest. “Our engineers drafted it and the Federal Highway Administration approved it.”

The bidding process should take 30 days with initial work expected to begin in October.

Massive rains in July 2010 washed out the historic bridge at the lake’s recreation area on County Road 29, off State Route 93. In late fall a temporary steel structure was put up downstream of the location of the original bridge to accommodate area residents who use the road as a major thoroughfare.

The project is a collaboration among the county engineer’s office, the forest service and the FHA. It is expected to cost between a half million and a million dollars with the FHA provided 100 percent of the funding.

The original bridge was a Civilian Conservation Corps project built in the 1930s. It was widened in 1990 and featured two spans.

The new design has only a single span.

“That was sort of the consensus among the engineer, forest service engineers and the Federal Highway,” Slone said. “It would probably be of benefit by not having any kind of structure within the creek bed itself. (Before) part of the structure was in the creek bed. (Now) debris as it comes downstream, it has taken out one less thing to get hung up on and have issues with.”

If a contract is awarded in October, Slone anticipates at least that the original, damaged structure would be removed this fall before cold weather begins.

“The part they won’t be able to do is pour any new concrete (at that time),” he said.