A temporary fix to remove weight restrictions on the Sullivan Road Bridge could have a permanent hit to the city of Spokane Valley’s bank account.
City staff told members of the City Council on Tuesday that it would be at least $358,000 for temporary repairs to the aging southbound bridge (there are actually two over the Spokane River at Sullivan), and a structural inspection underneath next month could reveal more problems.
The proposed recommendation from Sargent Engineers is to add supplemental shear steel reinforcing to the girders. Steve Worley, senior capital projects engineer, told the council that conclusion is based on an inspection made in 2010.
Whatever is done, Worley said, it will only be a patchwork solution until the bridge can be actually replaced, with work tentatively starting in 2014. The idea, he added, is to allow heavier truck traffic from Spokane Industrial Park and other manufacturing and commercial areas along the Sprague corridor to be able to use the bridge again.
“I want to emphasize that this is only temporary,” Worley said. “It’s not intended to keep this bridge in operation forever.”
The high level of truck traffic has likely hastened the lifespan of the bridge, which was built in 1951, resulting in the weight restrictions being put in place earlier this summer.
Worley said the city cannot use grant dollars for temporary repairs – that money will likely come from a capital projects set-aside fund, according to City Manager Mike Jackson – but the city is “moving ahead” with design work on the new bridge. The city already has $10 million in grants secured for the project, but city match dollars will be required for the $8 million federal portion of that amount.
Total estimated cost to replace the bridge is $19.7 million.
On the conservative side, it could still be another six or seven months before the weight restrictions are removed from the bridge. That’s because in addition to waiting for the inspection to be made in October, the city still must find a qualified bidder to do the work.
“Let’s get going on it,” said Council Member Chuck Hafner.
“Our priority is to get the weight restrictions off,” agreed Mayor Tom Towey.
In other news, the council:
- heard from Marion Lee, public health educator of the Spokane Regional Health District, who gave the council on the value of helmets for bicycles and other wheeled recreation devices. The city of Spokane has a helmet law for all ages with a monetary fine for noncompliance, and Spokane County commissioners recently passed their own law for those 3 to 16 with no civic infraction penalty. Spokane Valley has no law, but council members said they would discuss the idea at a future meeting.
- were briefed by Mark Calhoun, city finance director, on the city’s fee structure and the need to pass a resolution in October prior to approving the budget. Council members plan to review the fee structure at some point in the near future.
- agreed to allow the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Program to move forward for a first reading for approval. Council members spent some time on Tuesday tweaking language and making minor corrections to the document.