QUINCY -- It was not that long ago when Rome Frericks was at a loss for what to do about the Quinsippi Island bridge.
The Quincy Park District had gotten some bad news about one of the piers on the bridge. The second pier from the Quincy side was rated in poor condition after an underwater inspection done late in 2014. There was a chance the bridge could have been shutdown by the Illinois Department of Transportation if the problem was not fixed.
"We were told by experts in that field to start (repair costs) at six figures and go up from there," said Frericks, executive director of the Park District.
When bids for work to replace the pier came in at $695,000, Frericks had a dilemma. How could the Park District pay for those repairs? Would it be a permanent fix? What about the other four piers that had been rated in satisfactory condition? What if they were downgraded to poor?
The Park District wound up having a second underwater inspection of the bridge done last month. The fix wound up being much less complex than what was originally thought. As a result, the Park District was able to bid out the project for well under the original $695,000 price tag.
When the Park District opened bids last week, the repair bid did not even reach six figures.
The Quincy Park Board on Tuesday approved a bid of $98,600 from J.F. Brennan Co. Inc. of La Crosse, Wis., to do the repair work. The company, which also did the most recent underwater inspection, will begin work soon and should have it completed by end of January.
"It's wonderful news," Frericks said. "To come up with a solution that is not a Band-Aid for under $100,000 is great news, especially when we were looking at $695,000 about three months ago."
The company is going to install concrete bags around the pier that will alleviate problems with erosion and scouring. Frericks said there will be no bridge closures while the work is being done.
The Park District will fund the project from uncommitted money from its 2015 general obligation bond fund. Frericks said some projects that had been slated to be done in 2016 will be moved back a year.
Frericks said the project should go smoothly because J.F. Brennan already was familiar with the bridge after doing the inspection.
Seven companies showed an interest in the project, with three making bids. J.F. Brennan's bid was $10,000 cheaper than the next-lowest offer.
The 650-foot bridge was built in 1868 and rebuilt in 1899. It was used as a railroad bridge before vehicles began using it in the mid-1970s. It is the only way for people to get to Quinsippi Island, which houses the Art Keller Marina and the Lincoln-era Log Cabin Village.