Replacement of a failing bridge will be one of the first signs of big change at Riverfront Park.
The Spokane Park Board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a bid of $4.7 million to reconstruct the Howard Street bridge over the south channel of the Spokane River.
The bridge replacement is part of a voter-approved $64 million Riverfront Park makeover. Board members indicated reconstruction of the bridge was particularly important because of its dilapidated state since 2009, which limited foot traffic to the outside edges and banned most vehicles from driving over it. The bridge opened in 1931.
“It’s long overdue,” said Spokane Park Board President Chris Wright. “It’s structurally unsound, and I don’t think anyone likes having barricades in the middle of it.”
The new bridge will feature walking and bike paths, in addition to areas along the edges for people to step down to be closer to the water. It also will receive an upgraded 18-inch water main, which is 8 inches larger than exists now.
The old bridge is one of three in Riverfront Park that carried Howard Street traffic before they were closed to create the site for Expo ’74. It will be closed to foot traffic sometime after Labor Day, and demolition will quickly follow. Construction of the new bridge is estimated to take 14 months.
T. LaRiviere Equipment and Excavation of Athol, Idaho, will handle construction. Cost will be paid for with existing bond revenue. Utility fees will cover the estimated $190,000 cost of the water main.
Wright said that while designing the new bridge, it was important for it to keep the same footprint, and that it allow people to stay close to the water.
“It’s a nice bridge because it’s low, and we’ve tried to preserve a lot of that,” he said.
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