Overlay company to look at Belvue Bridge

By The Mercury

A company with experience in applying concrete polymer overlays will send a representative to see whether the Belvue Bridge is a candidate for the remedy, Pottawatomie County commissioners learned Monday.

Bob Awerkamp, owner of The Onyx Collection at Belvue, said Truesdell Corporation, Tempe, Ariz., has agreed to send an engineer to inspect the aging bridge, but only at the official request of the commission.

Truesdell Corporation early this month used KwikBond, a concrete polymer, to overlay a four-lane bridge at Kingman, the first overlay of its kind in Kansas. The project took three days, according to Awerkamp.

If the Belvue Bridge is a viable candidate for the polymer overlay, it could save the county millions in repair or replacement cost. Replacing the entire bridge has been estimated at $13 million.

Awerkamp, who utilizes polymers in his business, argued against a recent claim by the Kansas Department of Transportation that the 58-year-old bridge is not strong enough to handle an overlay, citing core pull-off tests on the bridge deck conducted in November and again in May.

“I’m trying to find a kind word to say about those tests they conducted,” Awerkamp said.

The test results, presented to the commission in July by Dave Meggers of KDOT’s materials research lab, indicated that the concrete strength of the bridge deck was well below the minimums recommended by the American Concrete Institute and the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials.

“None of those even came close to where we want to be,” Meggers said of the November tests, which included eight core samples along the curb lines of the bridge.

Three of the eight core samples taken in May in the driving lanes were “marginal,” while the other five were “really scary…way too low.”

Awerkamp, however, said it will cost the county nothing to get a second opinion.

“Here’s an opportunity to get somebody here who knows what this stuff (concrete polymer) is,” he said. “It won’t cost you a dime to have somebody else come out here and look at that bridge and here’s somebody who’ll do it.”

Awerkamp also said BG Consultants, the county’s consulting engineering firm on the project, has a “vested interest in replacing that bridge or doing a major repair to the deck. The other firm (Truesdell) has a vested interest in repair and the difference in cost is millions of dollars.”

Commissioners asked Awerkamp to provide contact information for Truesdell and indicated they would request a representative to inspect the bridge.

““I’m sure willing to look at it,” said Commissioner Stan Hartwich. “When I make a decision I want to have faith in the people who led me down this road.”

The Belvue Bridge spans the Kansas River just east of Belvue and connects Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee Counties.

State statute dictates that the cost of repair or replacement of the bridge be shared by the two counties based on assessed valuation.

Unless commissioners reach a different agreement, the cost share for the Belvue Bridge would be 86 percent for Pott County and 14 percent for Wabaunsee County.

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