By Megan Alley
Later this summer, the county will replace two culverts using a cement mixture called gunite that is applied at high pressure with minimal equipment.
One culvert is located under Clough Pike, west of Mt. Carmel Tobasco Road, and the other is under Bethel-New Richmond Road, north of state Route 52.
Both of the existing culverts were installed more than 40 years ago and are made of metal, which is rusting and starting to split at the top and bottom.
“If either culvert was to fail, it could cause a sinkhole in the road,” Craig Stephenson, Clermont County chief deputy county engineer, said.
A traditional fix for this type of issue is to take out the old metal culvert and replace it with a concrete box, Stephenson said.
“You’d have to have cranes, and with all those big transmission lines, it’s really difficult,” he added.
Instead, the Clermont County Engineer’s Office will work with a firm to “structurally reinforce” the culverts with a gunite application.
“The key is how they connect the existing metal culvert and grade the wire mesh for structural stability; it’s an engineered project,” Stephenson explained.
Once the mesh is in place, an operator will use a high pressure hose to shoot concrete onto the mesh, he said.
“The process allows them to spray up and around; it’s pretty cool and it’s a good product,” Stephenson said.
He added, “This particular method of rehabbing these old culverts allows you to do it without disrupting traffic and without needing access overhead; we can do it under traffic.”
During its meeting on July 15, the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District OK’d two resolutions approving and authorizing the department to enter into negotiations with a firm that specializes in this work.
The Clough Pike culvert replacement project is budgeted at $202,208 and the Bethel-New Richmond Road project is budgeted at $153,368.
The work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“It doesn’t take too long; they can do what they need to do in a matter of weeks,” Stephenson added.
The county has successfully used the process to repair other culverts, including the Point Isabel project that was completed last year, Stephenson said.
“It’s so much easier and we found it to be very effective,” he added.