Workers look for signs of rust in steel support for second floor deck of the city’s downtown parking garage. Workers bang the steel with hammers to look for problem areas. (Rick Green/Laconia Daily Sun)
Laconia structure’s steel deck is rusting, needs reinforcement
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Inspectors with hammers banged on the rusting steel support for the second deck of the city's downtown parking garage on Wednesday, looking for and finding areas where additional lumber reinforcement will be needed.
Wooden support, or cribbing, was added two years ago as a short-term fix when it was discovered that the metal bottom of the second-floor deck had serious rust problems, Public Works Director Wes Anderson said Wednesday.
"This is the first recheck to make sure the wood is right and in place and to see if there is more deterioration and more wood needs to be added," Anderson said. "They are hitting the metal pan that holds up the concrete floor.
"That metal pan rusts and deteriorates. You knock the rust off to see if there are holes or if there is metal left."
Anderson said he expects an inspection report from the DuBois & King consulting firm in about a week that will specify how much wood shoring will need to be added. Then the cost can be calculated.
Some parking spots on the second floor are blocked because there is too much corrosion below these areas.
The top floor of the 1970s-era, three-story garage is also closed because of problems with the ramps leading to it.
Throughout the garage, rust can also be seen on exposed steel beams.
“We're in the Northeast and this is an exposed structure,” City Manager Scott Myers said. “The top deck has no roof and the elements come in. Weather, moisture, salt, steel and pavement don't have a good relationship with each other.”
Estimates indicate it would cost $3 million to refurbish the garage.
Some local business leaders have urged the City Council to find a way to fund cosmetic improvements that would make the structure cleaner and more welcoming.
A previous proposal to raze the garage and build a new one near City Hall failed to gain traction.
There are about 150 spots in the portions of the garage that are open. Frequently, many are empty. There is usually parking available in surface lots and on streets downtown.
- Written by Rick Green
- Category: Local News
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