Some welcome news – along with some applause – livened up an otherwise short businesslike meeting of the Spokane Valley City Council on Tuesday.
While it wasn’t on the regular study session agenda, the presence of Sen. Mike Padden and a representative of Rep. Matt Shea, both of Spokane Valley’s 4th Legislative District, was a clue that something was up. Turns on the contingent in Olympia managed to squeeze out another $500,000 in contingency funds in order for the city to move forward with the replacement of the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge next year.
That means that the city’s $2.32 million it has already set aside in a capital projects reserve fund should be enough to see the project through.
City Manager Mike Jackson said the original $19.7 million estimate to replace the over 60-year-old bridge has been decreased by engineers with CH2M HILL, who has been contracted to do the design work on the new bridge, to $15.349 million.
The state Transportation Improvement Board last fall committed $3.5 million to the already-received $8 million in federal funds and over $1.5 million in state Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board funding.
Jackson said that the extra contingency funding, again coming from the state TIB, is the “good news” needed to move forward.
“Sullivan Bridge had been our major priority of the 2013 legislative session,” he said. “Now, sufficient funding has been secured to begin work in January of 2014.”
Padden told those in attendance that he was glad to have been able to help.
“We all worked hard on this,” Padden said, adding that businesses like Central Pre-Mix and Wagstaff rely on the Sullivan corridor to move goods. “With no new (state) transportation projects funded next year, it would have been the natural thing to say, well, we’ll try again next year…the TIB was very interested in this.”
Plans to replace the bridge, built in 1951, have been in the works since 2010 after an annual inspection rated it “structurally deficient.” Although the bridge was not in danger of collapse at the time, deterioration prompted weight restrictions that were posted in early 2011.
Short-term repairs were completed in early 2012, allowing the restrictions to be temporarily lifted.
The city had been scrambling to find the additional funds as the $3.5 million from TIB would only be released if the city committed to the bridge’s replacement by November of this year.