On Monday, April 17, the City Council awarded the construction contract for the Bridge Street bridge replacement, and within weeks, we’re heading into construction. Feel like you’ve heard about this for awhile? You have. After 90 years of service, the City knew that the current bridge, rated 7 out of 100, would not last much longer. We didn’t know it would take nearly 10 years to get to construction. Here’s a look why:
The first hurdle was funding. This is an estimated $18 million project. Roughly 86% of the project, over $15 million, is funded by grants, mostly from the State’s Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee and the Transportation Improvement Board. With a lot of infrastructure in the State needing replacing, Sumner is very lucky to get this much grant funding.
The second hurdle was design. The existing bridge is well loved for holiday lights and cancer walks, but as a bridge, it is functionally obsolete and not wide enough to safely convey large vehicles like buses and fire trucks. A lot of work went into a new, wide bridge that brings its own iconic design, including pedestal lanterns, overhead lighting and railing that echoes the old bridge.
Then there were hurdles most wouldn’t even imagine. In finalizing the right-of-way land, we literally found “no man’s land,” and needed to do research all the way back to hand-written donation land claims to figure out who owns it now. Building in a river brings more complications. Construction has to be timed to fit into “fish windows” when the fish aren’t running. To drive the piling in for the replacement bridge, we’ll need to use bubbleators to protect the fish in the river from the impact of construction. Plus, this vital link can’t shut down during construction, so the new bridge will be built alongside the old bridge so that vehicles may experience delays, but never a complete shut-down.
It’s been a long journey, and it’s not over yet. Construction is scheduled for 569 working days with a ending date of June 2019. I sure thank the staff, the council, the neighboring land owners, and all of you for coming along with this process. Once cranes and bubbleators actually get to work, it will be thrilling to see our new, iconic bridge begin to take shape.
Mayor Dave Enslow