Q: Why does the bridge need to be replaced?
A: A new bridge is needed because annual inspections show continued decay and weakening of the aging bridge. The reinforcing steel in the deck has reached its corrosive threshold, which is causing concrete in the bridge deck, sidewalks, and piers to loosen and break away. In 2006, temporary repairs to the piers were made and plywood was installed on the underside of the sidewalks to prevent concrete from falling on cars parked below. The four-inch thick sidewalk on the eastern side of the bridge is deteriorating at a greater rate than other portions of the bridge and was closed due to safety concerns. This has been repeated on the western sidewalk which was closed in March 2017. The rate of deterioration is increasing as existing damage allows further penetration of water during the freeze/thaw cycle in the winter.
Q: When will the replacement bridge be built?
A: Construction is projected to begin in Summer 2018.
Q: What will the new bridge cost?
A: Overall project expenses are estimated at $23.6 million. Included within this projection are design expenses, right of way, utilities relocations (directly related to replacement of the bridge), construction inspection services as well as railroad permits/flagging/insurance.
Q: How will the design of the new bridge be selected?
A: Community input will be sought through the community engagement plan as outlined in the Schedule. Various public meetings will identify the project’s goals to create up to three design concepts that will culminate from the Design Charette. A Community Open House will be held to evaluate the three concepts and provide a recommendation for the Preferred Design Concept. This Preferred Design Concept will be refined through various City Committees as well as the project’s Steering Committee before being presented to City Council and a Design Public Hearing.
Q: Will federal dollars be spent? What does that mean?
A: This is a federal aid project; so the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) must approve the need for the proposed highway improvements as well as the environmental documents, plans, specifications, cost estimates, right-of-way acquisitions, and construction procedures. This process provides additional assurance that federal, state, and local goals and objectives are met and that opportunity for public participation is provided. Federal and state regulations require that a wide range of factors and impacts are considered and that the final decisions are made in the best overall public interest.
Q: What are the community engagement objectives?
A: Community engagement will include a variety of public events, meetings, surveys, and media channels. Each technique will target specific stakeholders and/or the community at-large. Special consideration has been given to reach a balanced cross-section of the community with the intent to accomplish the following objectives:
- Engaging key community stakeholder groups and committees
- Offering decision points for citizens
- Ensuring representation from a wide range of demographics
- Sequencing engagement activities to build support and participation
Q: When was the current bridge built? How long do bridges usually last?
A: The current bridge was built in 1961/62, replacing an earlier bridge from 1905. Bridges, as with much of the infrastructure in the United States, typically were built with a 50-year service life. Advances in design, construction techniques, and materials are helping to extend the life of new bridges.
Q: How will pedestrian and vehicular traffic be impacted by construction?
A: The design process is starting with a goal of maintaining both vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the bridge. As the design process progresses, more details will be shared and presented regarding impacts to pedestrian and vehicular traffic throughout construction.
Q: Why is the east sidewalk closed?
A: Annual bridge inspection revealed several deficiencies in the sidewalk when compared to the previous year. Large areas of the sidewalk have spalled throughout the past year, causing tripping hazards to pedestrians and exposing the reinforcing steel. Several holes in the sidewalk have grown to the point where they pose significant hazard.