Town officials last week approved a $75,000 contract with a Newington-based civil engineering firm to inspect 17 small bridges and culverts in New Canaan.
It’s been nearly 30 years since bridges smaller than 20 feet underwent a full inspection by the state Department of Transportation, though they’ve undergone screenings to rule out major problems, according to town Senior Engineer Joe Zagarenski.
“Culverts have older or nonexistent data, so the intent of these inspections is to gather the data on these structures, identify any deficiencies and to develop a repair/maintenance plan with costs,” Zagarenski told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held March 7 at Town Hall and via videoconference.
The purpose of the new contract with WMC Consulting Engineers is “identifying the small culverts” around town so municipal officials know which ones “need a little bit of work and a little more attention,” he said.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract.
WMC “has recently designed and provided construction inspection services with the West Road bridge and Wastewater Treatment Plant bridge, and we’ve been very happy with their performance,” Zagarenski said.
The selectmen asked whether the state absorbs the cost of inspecting bridges 20 feet and over (yes), when was the last time true bridges under 20 feet had been fully inspected (1997) and whether the town went out to bid on the project (no).
Corbet asked whether it’s typical to not put such a professional services job out for bid.
Zagarenski said that the state DOT gets qualifications for companies such as WMC “and then we negotiate their fees.”
“It’s just to make sure we get the right fit for the right project,” he said.
Two summers ago, a culvert replacement on Route 123 closed the state road for about three weeks in the area of the New Canaan Field Club.