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Tempers Flair At Commissioners Meeting
Updated May 6, 2014 7:20 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(BEDFORD) - The meeting got a little heated after Project Manager Bob Dillon addressed the Lawrence County commissioners about the updated bridge projects.

Dillon told the commissioners that the superstructure on bridge 77 was complete. The bridge is on Mount Pleasant Road.

He also reported that the Fort Ritner bridge is closed until the bridge inspector can evaluate the bridge.

"Bridge inspectors should be here by the end of the month," Dillon added. "The decking needs replaced and the wood flooring. We will know more after the bridge inspection."

Dillon says the last time the bridge was repaired, Washington County assisted by repairing half of the bridge.

"I'd like to see it repaired and kept open because the bridge is part of the historic bridge project," Dillon added.

During the public input of the meeting, Mitchell resident Ron Pridemore questioned the commissioners about using recycled bridge beams to build county bridges.

Pridemore wanted to see the inspection reports of the beams, why they were removed from other bridges, what grade of metal was used in the beams, and what guarantee if any was given, the load test results and the company's name and phone number from where the beams were being purchased from.

Pridemore says he asked for this information six to eight months ago and he is still waiting for those answers. Pridemore then provided the commissioners with a verbal resume of his military qualifications in determining if the steel beams were safe.

Dillon disagreed that Pridemore's qualifications didn't make him an engineer or bridge inspector.

Dillon sought a low-cost fix with long-term life cycle benefits to repair and replace county bridges. He and the commissioners opted to re-use steel beams taken from other bridges that were previously removed from service.

Dillon says the combination of recycled steel and in-house construction saves the county thousands in taxpayers dollars.

"These beams have passed all inspections and the engineers would not use the beams if there was a problem or any doubt about their quality," Dillon added. "Using the beams allows us to replace five bridges for what it would cost us to replace three not using the recycled beams."

Dillon also added that he supplied Commission Bill Spreen with a letter answering all of Pridemore's questions.

Spreen says he talked to Pridemore about the beams and during that conversation Pridemore was satisfied with Spreens' answers. But Pridemore denied that conversation ever took place. That caused some heated words between Pridemore and Spreen.

Then while Spreen was discussing the quality of the beams and how much the county was saving by using them, Pridemore sat in the galley cursing after each of Spreen's comments.

Sheriff Sam Craig then approached Pridemore and asked him to stop cursing, which he did.

Then after the meeting was adjured, Pridemore approached the commissioners and was told by President Dave Flinn that he needed to address the commissioners in a less threatening manner and not be cursing during the public meeting. At that time Pridemore told the commissioners Sheriff Craig was "out of line" by addressing Pridemore.

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