August 22, 2013 in Washington Voices

Sullivan Road bridge design nearly complete

Work could start in 2014
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map of this story's location

There was a festive mood in the air Tuesday as Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson announced that the city can afford to move forward with the long-awaited replacement of the west Sullivan Road Bridge over the Spokane River.

Jackson was effusive in his praise for the assistance of state Sen. Mike Padden, state Rep. Matt Shea and state Rep. Larry Crouse.

“Sullivan Bridge has been a major priority for our council,” he said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “Sufficient funding has been secured.”

A nearly complete design has allowed the city to lower the estimated cost of the bridge, and the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board has agreed to underwrite up to $500,000 in contingency funds, Jackson said. Any construction project includes contingency funds to cover unexpected cost overruns. “They enabled us to remove our contingency funds from our budget,” he said.

The city has been working to replace the bridge that carries southbound traffic since 2008, when inspections revealed the deteriorated state of the 1951 span. Weight restrictions were imposed for several months in 2011, which affected nearby businesses such as Inland Asphalt and Central Pre-Mix. The city council authorized temporary repairs that allowed the weight restrictions to be lifted in early 2012.

Padden spoke briefly. “We all worked on this,” Padden said. “All of us here know how important the Sullivan Bridge is.”

Over the years the city has received $9.5 million in federal grants and a $3.5 million grant from the Transportation Improvement Board to pay for a new bridge. The city is contributing $2.3 million for the project. The original construction estimate was $19.7 million and this year the city has been exploring every avenue to get the last $4 million it thought it needed.

But the original estimate included a lot of inflationary factors and contingency money, said senior capital projects engineer Steve Worley. “Back in 2008, prices were going sky high,” he said. Since then prices have dropped and now that the design is 90 percent complete a current cost estimate could be used, Worley said. Engineers came up with a new estimate of $17.3 million. “We took the contingency out and it dropped to $15.3 million,” he said.

The design of the bridge is being finished and the city is still completing environmental permits, Worley said. The project should be ready to go out to bid this fall with construction to begin in early 2014.

In other business Tuesday, the council unanimously awarded several construction bids. West Company Inc. will complete the Sullivan Bridge drain retrofit project for $232,918. The project includes running pipes under the east Sullivan Bridge to collect runoff and pipe it to a swale so it no longer discharges directly into the Spokane River. The project is being paid for by a grant from the Department of Ecology.

Cameron-Reilly was the only contractor to bid on a sidewalk project on Wellesley Avenue from Sullivan to 150 feet east of Isenhart Road and on Adams Road from Trent Avenue to Wellesley. The bid was $542,200, far less than the estimated cost of $600,000.

The project is being paid for by a Safe Routes to School grant.

Spokane Rock Products had the low bid of $999,134 on a bundle of three street preservation projects. The work will include the repaving of Carnahan Road between Eighth Avenue and Kahuna Drive, Indiana Avenue between Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway and Sprague Avenue between University Road and Herald Road.

The 14th Avenue stormwater improvement project will be completed by Big Sky Development for a price tag of $297,154. The project will install underground stormwater collection and piping on 14th between Custer Road and Carnahan. The road is narrow in that area and has gravel shoulders that frequently wash out after heavy rains.

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