County renews 2-year contract for bridge inspections, continues winter road clearing

The county is renewing their bridge inspection contract with Calhoun-Burns and Associates as ?another eye on our bridges,? said Jake Hotchkiss, Henry County engineer.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, Hotchkiss said that using the company, which specializes in bridge inspection, is a valuable tool to the county. Although the former county engineer was certified to do bridge inspections, Hotchkiss said that even if he was certified, he would want to employ the services of Calhoun-Burns.

?It?s beneficial for an additional set of eyes,? Hotchkiss said.

?To me it seems that it would give you a leg up in a civil suit,? Supervisor Gary See added.

The two-year contract rotates through bridges that need inspection. The cost of bridge inspection in 2018 will be $4,220, while the cost will go up to $14,190 in 2019 with 86 bridges needing inspection that year.

In addition to approving the bridge inspection contract, supervisors also approved the purchase of a 2018 Chevy for the Henry County Engineer department. The truck costs $31,269, which will be used by the superintendent Brian Yaley, who?s current truck will be used in the county?s work fleet.

Road maintenance continued last week with a focus on snow removal. Hotchkiss said that they were fortunate on Sunday with a slight freeze giving the treacherous gravel roads a little more traction. As the weather continues to warm up during the day and cool off at night, Hotchkiss warned that people need to use caution, saying that salting the pavement is only good until the salt washes off and freezes again.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 1, the department focused on snow removal, sending plow trucks out in the morning and cleaning them and preparing them for another round in the afternoon as temperatures continued to drop. The rest of the week, territory operators worked on snow removal and looked for drifting snow.

In other news, the board approved the naming of a private lane. The lane intersecting with Hickory Avenue will be named Hickory Ridge Lane.

Henry County Zoning Administrator Joe Buffington recommended that the street be named even though there is only one house on the street so far. Supervisors must approve naming of streets in unincorporated areas of Henry County.

Buffington said that there is one house on the lane so far and there are plans for at least one other. He said that rather than wait to name the lane and change addresses once the road is platted, the county might as well change it ahead of time.

?It?s somewhat putting the cart before the horse,? Buffington said. ?Normally we would do this with the subdivision process, but it hasn?t gotten that far yet.?

Supervisors also approved five new disabled veteran homestead applications. Within the county, there are 29 disabled veterans receiving or who will receive homestead approval.

Shelly Barber, Henry County auditor, said that when the program first started, veterans had to be 100 percent disabled and 100 percent unemployable. Since then, the law has changed to state that they can be either 100 percent disabled or 100 percent unemployable.