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Council Faces Ailing Monroe Street Bridge

Spokane city officials say they have no idea how much money is needed to fix the ailing Monroe Street Bridge.

So they’re planning to hire someone to find out.

During today’s briefing session, City Manager Bill Pupo plans to ask City Council members whether they want to spend $42,000 on a quick study of the bridge’s condition or take a full-blown look at what’s wrong with the structure.

There may be matching money for the larger study, said Pupo, if the state or federal government agrees to pitch in.

Several years ago, a complete study of the T.J. Meenach Bridge cost nearly $500,000, but city officials are reluctant to estimate the cost of a similar study of the Monroe Street Bridge.

“We just don’t know,” Pupo said.

City officials say the same thing when asked how much repairing the bridge will cost.

“I couldn’t tell you that,” said Gale Olrich, interim director of Planning and Engineering Services. “There’s no way to forecast that.”

City engineers have said that fixing the bridge could cost between $8 million and $10 million. But that estimate is only the cost of replacing the bridge’s deck.

If serious structural work is needed, such as rebuilding the arches, the cost could increase dramatically, said Bruce Steele, the city’s transportation director.

Earlier this month, the council asked Pupo to find out what the condition of the bridge is and how urgent the repairs are.

Council members wanted the report by February. That’s possible with a cursory study, but a full analysis could take as long as six months, Olrich said.

, DataTimes

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