RIVERSIDE -- A second attempt in two weeks to get approval by the Riverside City Council to pave the River Bend Bridge came to another dead end this week.
“It is in worse shape than before repairs were made,” Councilman Johnny Osborn told the mayor and council at Tuesday night’s meeting. “I turned in a bid for $9,200 to asphalt the before-bridge area, the bridge itself and the area past the bridge in need of repairs.”
At the June 6 council meeting, Osborn made a motion to move forward with paving the bridge, but his motion died without a second.
“We spent $180,000 and are in worse shape than before repairs, due to the fact we were negligent in reading the specs before it was let,” Osborn told the council. “I have heard it all – We have to wait until August, and they will tar and gravel it for us. The ground has to settle. The asphalt will crack. The asphalt company said this could have been done six weeks ago, and it will not crack and is guaranteed 12 months not to do so.”
He said the company would cover the bridge and the road leading up to the bridge with three inches of asphalt.
Councilman Kenny Womack said he would like more than a 12-month guarantee, but seconded Osborn’s motion.
“It’s a hazard,” Womack said. “We need to try and get something done.”
Mayor Rusty Jessup said the money for the paving is not in the city’s budget.
“If y’all want to pave it, we’ll pave it,” he said.
Jessup said the bridge is not in worse conditionm and that it is a work in progress.
He said the county is expected to tar and gravel the bridge and road leading up to the bridge in August, but Osborn said the city needs to finish the job now.
“We started a job and did not finish it,” Osborn said.
Councilman Frank Riddle said there are a lot of roads in bad condition in Riverside.
“I can’t see spending that kind of money after we spent $180,000,” Riddle said. “We have other roads that are in need of repair.”
Councilman Bill Cantley said the council will have to cut something out of another department to afford the paving.
“My biggest concern is the road needs rails,” Womack said. “It’s a safety hazard we need to correct.”
The proposed asphalt work did not including installing safety railing along the bridge.
Womack said there are people crossing the bridge who are not familiar with the area.
“You have inexperienced drivers,” he added. “People who are coming in from a Friday night out and could go off the side. ... I’m with Johnny. We need to finish the job.”
The proposed paving work did not have the support of the majority of the council. Osborn and Womack voted for the paving, and Jessup, Cantley and Riddle voted against moving forward with the paving work.
Jessup said he is going to check with the county engineer about the project status and what the county road department’s plans are with finishing the River Bend Bridge project.