County engineer talks about roads, domes and bells

County engineer Wade Weiss on Monday briefed the county supervisors on three projects, one of which is related to roads.

The paving project on Trinity Ave and 125th St at the northeast corner of Paton is completed, he reported. Driveways and painting are complete and everyone has access.

Weiss also talked about the stained glass dome at the courthouse and the Mahanay bell tower completion.

He said bid documents will be completed soon for the restoration of the large stained glass dome over the courthouse rotunda, with Oct. 3 set as the date for a bid opening. All potential bidders will be required to do a pre-bid site visit. Weiss said he wants to be sure all bidders have seen the dome and how it is accessed before they submit a bid.

Work would start after Nov. 1 and be completed by next July. Estimated cost is $175,000.

Weiss also told the supervisors he has been asked by the Bell Tower Community Foundation to be its representative in working with Verdin Company on the large project of completing the four octave carillon.

Weiss said he hopes the bells can be taken down and the superstructure work done yet this construction season. He’d like to have the bells replaced before the 2017 Bell Tower Festival.

“I think there’s an advantage to having you oversee that,” said supervisor Guy Richardson, who is an ex officio member of the Bell Tower Community Foundation. “Certainly you know all the problems we have up there. You’d be a huge plus as we go through the project.”

Weiss said he made no commitment to the Foundation about his services before discussing it with the supervisors.

Weiss has spent considerable time on bell tower maintenance issues in the past three or four years. Board chair John Muir asked Weiss if he could see a time in the future when his level of involvement would decrease.
Weiss said that was because of the age of the structure, but prior to the last four years or so, not much was required of the engineer’s office. “This is a major project. After this, it seems it should be slowing down,” he said. He said there have been many repairs done and a significant cost to the county, “but after this we should be coasting for a while.”

(The county is required to pay for maintenance to the tower and the Foundation must pay for enhancements to it.)

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