By Chris Umscheid
SUTLIFF– Those wanting to see the historic, flood-damaged Sutliff Bridge rebuilt and repaired will have to wait a little longer.
“We are several months behind on the completion of the final plans,” said Andy Johnson, Executive Assistant to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. VJ Engineering has sent the final plans to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO). Both agencies have to review and approve the plans before the project can move forward.
Johnson said the plans were submitted two weeks ago, and so far, no comments have been received by VJ Engineering.
“We need to ensure that FEMA and SHPO have ample time to review the plans,” Johnson said. He added the preliminary project schedule allocated one month for what he called “stakeholder review.”
“They’ve had two weeks so far for review, so two more weeks will be needed prior to the bid letting.”
Tentatively, bids should be let for the $1.7 million project the week of Sept. 11 with a contract being awarded by Oct. 1. The construction timeline is still slated for approximately nine months.
In May, Tim McDermott, the lead engineer for the project, said VJ Engineering was working toward a July 18 deadline to turn in final plans, with the project opened for bids in mid-August. The winning contractor’s bid was set to be awarded in September with an early October start date anticipated for construction. The triple span truss bridge was heavily damaged, and one span destroyed in record flooding in June of 2008. Since then, the county agreed to take ownership of the bridge back from the Sutliff Bridge Authority (SBA), conducted engineering and feasibility studies looking at the condition of the remaining structure, then voted 3-2 in April of 2010 to rebuild the bridge with FEMA funding.