Bridge repair order is shuffled
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 26,2013
The River Street Bridge might not get fixed this year, but the one on Crescent Street will as the city rearranges its five-year bridge plan.
Last year, voters approved a $2 million bond (leveraging another $8 million in funds) for a five-year bridge replacement schedule. The first target, the West Street Bridge, was completed in the fall. The River Street Bridge was up next, but city officials say the state has taken responsibility for that structure.
However, while the state has the bridges on Ripley Road and Forest Street slated for work in 2014, the River Street Bridge has yet to be added to the state’s repair list. Mayor Christopher Louras said he hoped the state taking over the project would not result in it being pushed back significantly.
“I think it’s an important enough artery, it will rise to the appropriate level of focus at the state,” he said. “Also, because it goes over a rail yard, it’s important to keep it from disintegrating. It’s one thing to have a piece of Dorr Bridge fall into Otter Creek. It’s another to have a piece of River Street Bridge fall onto an Amtrak locomotive.”
With River Street off the city’s plate, Public Works Commissioner Evan Pilachowski looked at which of the other projects he should move up for 2013. The remaining bridges in the five-year plan were Crescent Street over East Creek and Church Street over Tenney Brook. The latter, according to Pilachowski, would not be ready until 2014, but Crescent Street could happen this year.
“This bridge is showing signs of deterioration of the deck, abutments and railings,” Pilachowski wrote in a memo to the Board of Aldermen. “By performing these repairs, we will be able to postpone more significant repairs or replacements for a number of years.”
Pilachowski said he hoped the city had caught the deterioration in time to extend the bridge’s lifespan by at least 15 years.
The board voted unanimously earlier this week to authorize Pilachowski to send engineering on the project out to bid. The engineering phase will generate an estimate of the repair costs.
“Really, we need to have somebody take a look at it and see what repairs are cost-effective,” Pilachowski said.
The repair schedule also includes the Dorr Bridge, slated for replacement by the state in 2015 and 2016.