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Chambers Bridge replacement is in the works

March 3, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

An historic rural bridge in southeastern Tama County closed since 2007 may be replaced. The work won't come without a cost- $2.5 million is the estimate from County Engineer Lyle Brehm. And, at that price and the scope of the work, reconstruction won't start right away he told the Board of Supervisors on Monday.

The Chambers or Chambers Ford Bridge, located on 380th Street crossing the Iowa River west of Belle Plaine was built in 1890 with a second span added in 1902.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 which records relate the bridge in Salt Creek Township carried farm goods and families over the Iowa River for more than 100 years.

That age and the type of the structure combined with a splitting foundation caused it to be ordered closed for safety reasons in November, 2007, by the board of supervisors according News-Herald reports.

There have been a number of calls to repair or replace the bridge from residents of the area since. They have expressed concerns about fire and ambulance protection as well as farm-to-market access.

On Monday, Kim Jacobi, who lives in the area told supervisors neighbors were considering forming a watch group.

County officials have said the bridge is so expensive to replace, it would deplete what money Tama County has available for many of needed road repairs.

However, on Monday Brehm said the Chambers Bridge has now qualified for a portion of special bridge set aside money. He explained that annually the Iowa Code requires $2 million to be placed in the "county bridge construction fund."

After several unsuccessful applications, the county has been informed the bridge now qualifies for a total of $1,774,000 of the replacement cost. Supervisors entered into an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation to accept the funding during their Monday meeting.

It is believed the remaining $726,000 can be obtained from federal sources, county officials said Monday.

Brehm stressed the size of the project will require a consultant and emphasized he did not believe the work would begin this year nor in 2012.

Four other bridge and culvert projects received final authorization by the supervisors on Monday.

They include on 370th Street over Richland Creek, C Ave. to T47, 270th Street near C Avenue over sugar Creek and H Avenue over break water of the iowa River.

Claims approved on Monday by supervisors totaled $100,181.

Su pervisors meeting - Tuesday, Feb. 21

Compiled by Joyce Wiese

News correspondent

Tama County Supervisors met Tuesday, Feb. 21,with 2nd District Supervisor Kendall Jordan absent.

Brian Sokol , Toledo, was appointed to the Tama County Community Foundation by unanimous vote.

Casey Schmidt of Waterloo was appointed as a reserve officer, effective immediately.

A resolution was passed fto allow the Tama County Emergency Managaement Commission and the Tama County Board of Supervisors to allow the formation and to acknowledge the Tama County Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) as a volunteer subdivision of the Tama County Emergency Management Agency.

One utility permit was approved for Mediacom south along the east side of AA Avenue at 3063 AA Avenue in Indian Village Township Section 18.

The road report was given by Susan Jones, assistant to the County Engineer, stating they wanted to purchase a Cat Wheel loader, Model 124HZ, new. Prices for the new unit is less than the price of a used outfit.

Claims for the past week totaled $162,992.



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