October 10, 2008 in City

Railroad bridge passes check

Weight limits now lifted
By The Spokesman-Review

A weight restriction has been lifted at the Larson Beach Road railroad bridge south of Loon Lake.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway placed the three-ton weight limit on the bridge last month, following an inspection and repair work.

Residents on the west side of Loon Lake complained to Stevens County because the restriction meant firetrucks, school buses and snowplows could not cross the bridge. Firetrucks would have to go north around the lake to get to west-side communities, adding 12 to 20 minutes to their drive time.

“I think we broke some sort of land speed record dealing with this issue,” said Stevens County public works director Jim Whitbread. “Frankly, I haven’t slept a lot these past weeks. If anything happened to anyone who lived in there and we couldn’t get a firetruck there fast enough, I would just feel awful.”

County engineering crews and inspectors, using special equipment from an engineering company in Spokane, thoroughly examined the bridge last week. County crews took the weight-restriction signs down Wednesday.

The railroad put up the signs without discussing the weight limit with the county.

Red Crass, who lives nearby, said he’s happy he can use the bridge again.

“I feel totally safe now,” Crass said. “I’m glad the railroad and the county got together now, and we didn’t have to wait a year or something.”

Contact Pia Hallenberg Christensen at (509) 459-5427 or piah@spokesman.com.

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