LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that access to the middle deck of the downtown parking garage is expected to be restored by the end of next week, in time for the space to be used during the Pumpkin Festival the next day.
Bob Ayers of R.M. Piper, Inc. of Plymouth, who is supervising the work, said that where the exposed steel has been weakened by corrosion, at the foot of vertical beams supporting the ramps and along the runners of the ramps themselves, supports are being strengthened by welding fresh steel over the corroded sections. In addition, he said that some of the galvanized steel pans, into which the concrete was poured to form the ramps, are also corroded and will be reinforced with four-by-four pressure-treated lumber as a temporary measure.
City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that he has yet to receive an estimate of what the work to reopen the garage will cost. He indicated that the upper deck will likely remain closed through the winter and repairs on the remaining ramps undertaken next spring. Bob Durfee, an engineer with Dubois & King, Inc., is assessing the condition of the entire garage, but has yet to complete his report.
City officials closed the garage on September 28 when an inspection found that the steel supporting the ramps had been compromised corrosion. A week earlier Durfee began assessing the condition of the garage at the request of Paul Moynihan, director of Public Works. Durfee said that he expected to find some damage that would require repair, but did not anticipate the extensive corrosion he found. The most severe damage, he explained, is to the ramps, where the concentration of road salt is greatest.
The garage was built in 1973 and opened in 1974. Durfee said that the garage with its exposed steel supporting ramps and decks is the only one of its kind he has encountered in the northeast, where reinforced concrete is preferred for its capacity to withstand constant exposure to road salt during the winter. Since then it underwent a major upgrade in 1996, which included repainting the steelwork. In 2005, repairs were made to the decks and the middle deck was overlaid and sealed and leakage into the commercial spaces beneath the garage was addressed in 2008.
As part of condominium-like arrangement, the city owns approximately two-thirds of the parking spaces on the second and third levels of the garage, as well as the access ramps.
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