Drivers on Sullivan Road at the Spokane River are going to be taking a small detour in coming weeks.
The Spokane Valley City Council has approved temporary repairs to the western portion of the bridge crossing the river.
Work is expected to start in a matter of days and continue for about two months.
Drivers will be routed into a single lane of traffic in each direction on the upstream portion of the bridge.
The existing crossing is actually two side-by-side bridges. The older of the two on the west side needs the repair work.
The council has agreed to spend up to $358,000 for the repairs so that truck weight restrictions can be lifted. However, it may not cost that much since bids came in well below an engineering estimate.
The city’s long-range plan calls for replacing the 1951 structure with a new bridge at a cost of $19.7 million. About half of the funding is in place, largely through a federal bridge replacement grant of $8 million.
Weight limits were imposed in June after the bridge was found to be structurally deficient. Girders within the bridge have been showing wear and a system of hinge pins was in danger of failing.
The proposed fix calls for attaching metal reinforcements to girders and fastening the arrays to the bridge deck.
The city received a low bid of $156,000 from N.A. Degerstrom Inc., of Spokane Valley.
City officials have been concerned that the weight restrictions are causing a large number of trucks to detour onto Trent Avenue and Pines Road to gain access to Interstate 90, forcing employers to burn more fuel and lose productivity from the time added to those trips.
The Sullivan crossing serves the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, rail connections, Inland Asphalt, a solid waste transfer station, a fire station and Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co.
An estimated 4,500 people have jobs along the corridor.
The proposed new span would be wider than the current downstream bridge, with two through lanes, two turn lanes and a bicycle-pedestrian lane.
Officials said they expect a 30 percent increase in traffic on the bridge once the proposed urban connector on Bigelow Gulch Road is completed and connected at Sullivan and Trent.
Sullivan at the bridges had been carrying 25,900 vehicles a day, of which 24 percent had been trucks.
Buses on holiday schedule
Spokane Transit Authority sent out a reminder that buses will be operating on a holiday-Sunday schedule today.
The Arena shuttle will not run. Instead, the No. 27 Hillyard bus will serve the lots. It can be boarded at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Boone Avenue.
Rally for bridges
In Coeur d’Alene, members of the Labor International Union of North America are holding a rally on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the corner of U.S. Highway 95 and Appleway to call for the need to repair and rebuild the nation’s bridges.
The union said that 9 percent of Idaho’s bridges are structurally deficient, and that repairing and replacing those bridges would create jobs and provide a boost to Idaho’s ailing economy.
Members of the public are invited to join the rally.
Black ice warning
Washington State Department of Transportation crews reported encountering unexpected black ice during the past several weeks of freezing weather. Even when air temperatures were above freezing, there was still black ice sticking to the pavement.
They said drivers should be mindful that pavement may be slick even as air temperatures rise above freezing.