A barge of equipment floats beside the old Highway 82 River Bridge Thursday. Workers are repairing the bridge and converting it to a pedestrian walkway for the Columbus Riverwalk. Photo by: Lee Adams/Dispatch Staff
November 3, 2012 8:59:14 PM
Work has finally started on a long-planned, multi-million-dollar project for the Columbus Riverwalk.
Structural work has started on the project to restore the old Highway 82 bridge at the Columbus Riverwalk. The bridge is being restored so it can be turned into a pedestrian walkway at the Riverwalk.
"In this phase of the project, a study was done on the structure of the bridge and there is some work that needs to be done on (Piling) 3 of the bridge," city engineer Kevin Stafford said. "We've done some studies in 1985 and again in 2008 and there is some concern about that (piling.) They are doing some underwater work currently to provide additional footing for the (piling)."
The $2.5 million renovation has been a long-discussed joint project between the Columbus City Council and the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors. MDOT has committed $2 million for the project and the city, county and Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau were to originally commit $133,000 each for construction costs. The project was re-bid in April after the first round of bids were rejected. After the re-bid process, the city agreed to commit an additional $100,000 to the project bringing its total contribution to $233,000.
During the initial bid process, Starkville's Malouf Construction, LLC bid about $2.5 million on the project and Phillips Contracting of Columbus bid about $3 million. Greenville-based Malouf was awarded the contract and is working on the project out of its Starkville office. The re-bidding delayed work on the bridge for almost five months. Stafford was quick to squash rumors the structural damage would exceed the construction budget.
With the bridge dormant since the late 1980s, Stafford said much will also need to be done on its surface area.
"At the same time the divers are working underwater, workers are also removing old hand rails, and the guard rails are also coming down," Stafford said. "The guard rails will not go back up but the hand rails will be replaced."
Once the structural work is done, Stafford said the next phase for the bridge will be the rehabilitation phase.
"We hope to have everything completed and have it open to the public in early summer of 2013," Stafford said.