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Alaska public building’s rotting floor could bring high cost

November 26, 2019

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska city faces millions of dollars in repair or replacement costs due to a rotting floor in a public building, officials said.

Officials in Bethel must decide on the method and possible costs to address the water-damaged floor in the city’s Public Works Department building, KYUK-AM reported.

There are rotted beams and detached girders and brackets below the floor of the building constructed in the early 1980s. Parking water trucks in the building allowed water to penetrate various areas, Acting City Manager Bill Howell said.

The city noticed the problem this summer as employees watched water trucks leave the building.

“The floor would press down a few inches, and then spring back up when the weight was off of it,” Howell said.

Options include a $1 million to $1.5 million floor replacement, with the possibility of wall repairs of $5 million to $6 million. Bethel could also replace the building for about $30 million, Howell said.

The city council recently approved $150,000 for emergency repairs and an engineering report assessing the damage.

“We want to stabilize anything that’s in imminent danger of collapsing or breaking,” he said.

Heavy equipment has been moved outside and water trucks are being parked beside the building, Howell said, noting that the structure is too small to support the entire Public Works Department.

The city also requested $7 million in assistance from the state, which previously provided funding to help rebuild the city’s fire and police department buildings.

“If we don’t do something those beams will continue to rot, and you could have a piece of heavy equipment or large sewer water truck fall through the floor,” Howell said.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org