LACONIA — Work began yesterday to repair the ramps leading to and from the middle deck of the downtown parking garage as a contractor started stripping the paint from those sections of the exposed steel beams supporting the ramps most severely compromised by corrosion.
The parking garage was closed last week when an assessment of the structure by Bob Durfee of Dubois & King, Inc. discovered that corrosion from wet weather and road salt has left the ramps in a weakened condition. While work has begun to address the ramps, the assessment of the garage has continued.
Apart from removing the lead paint, the lead particles were being vacuumed, funneled into a hopper and emptied into drums, which will be sealed and shipped to an appropriate facility as hazardous waste.
Bob Ayers of R.M. Piper, Inc. said that he once the paint is removed the extent of the damage and required repairs can be determined more precisely. He expected work could begin replacing and strengthening sections of corroded beams and joints as soon as next week. He estimated that the repairs required to reopen the ramps to the middle deck could take four weeks to complete.
City Manager Scott Myers said that the immediate priority is to restore access to the middle deck of the garage. He said that a survey of downtown parking conducted two years ago, which included random visits to the garage once each week for eight months found that the middle deck, which has space for approximately 100 vehicles, was never filled to capacity.
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