Spokane Valley Fire’s Board of Commissioners has drafted a letter in support of reconstruction of the Sullivan Road Bridge over the Spokane River.
The letter was sent to the Washington State Department of Transportation, March 9, it was reported at last Monday’s fire commissioners meeting.
The letter requests additional state funding so reconstruction work on the aging bridge can begin soon.
“Recently, SVFD was put on notice by the city (of Spokane Valley) that the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge was determined to be structurally deficient based on a 2010 inspection and load-rating analysis,” wrote Monte Nesbitt, board chairman. “The posting of weight restrictions will have a significant negative impact on our ability to meet our mission.”
The fire department’s biggest issue is that many of the trucks it uses that would respond from the north side of the river at Fire Station 5, 15510 E. Marietta, and at the Training Center at Spokane Industrial Park heading south would have to find alternate routes that would take them miles out of the way because they would not be able to make use of the bridge.
“The only other southbound route from these locations will cause a major response delay for emergency equipment,” Nesbitt wrote.
Commissioner Kolby Hanson said it was important to get the bridge upgraded. Argonne and Barker Road bridges have already been replaced in recent years.
“It’s good they’re getting done,” he said.
At Sullivan, there are actually two bridges. The southbound bridge was built in 1951 and has developed cracks in its 60 years of life, according to city traffic engineers, and is now “structurally deficient.”
While posting weight limits would extend the life of the bridge somewhat, Steve Worley, senior engineer, told the Spokane Valley City Council last week. And while the bridge is currently still safe, replacement work needs to be done in the near future.
So far, the city has received $10 million to pay for the bridge, which is estimated to cost approximately twice that much. The city is seeking additional grant money to get the job done, and the letter from the fire commissioners is hoped to help further that cause.
Barker Road Bridge cost $11.8 million and was nearly fully funded by outside grants.