By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The 44-year-old bridge is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, which means it fails to meet current bridge standards to such a degree that the city is required to replace it, city Public Works Director Glenn Cutler said Friday.
“But it doesn’t mean we need to shunt traffic off it,” Cutler said, which city public works staff had to do for the old trestle-like Eighth Street bridges, replaced in 2008.
The new Lauridsen bridge, expected to cost $5.8 million at the top end of bids to be opened next week, will be similar in look and construction to the Eighth Street bridges, which use long concrete girders to span Tumwater and Valley creeks.
Cutler said he expects construction to start in late summer or fall and last about six months.
The city will pay 20 percent, or roughly $1.2 million, of the total cost, with federal bridge-replacement funds obtained through the state Department of Transportation covering the remaining 80 percent, or approximately $4.6 million.
City Council members also approved earlier this month a contract with Olympia-based Exceltech Consulting Inc. in an amount not to exceed $463,522 or 12 percent of the construction bid award, whichever is less, for construction management of the project.
The 12 percent provision, which ultimately must be agreed upon by Exceltech, came after Deputy Mayor Brad Collins expressed concern that the construction management costs would be too large of a percentage of the estimated construction cost.
Cutler said neither the current nor new Lauridsen bridge is built like the steel truss bridge that carried Interstate 5 traffic over the Skagit River in Skagit County until it collapsed Thursday evening.
None of the five road bridges the city maintains is of steel-truss construction, Cutler said.
In addition to the Lauridsen and Eighth Street bridges, the city maintains smaller spans along Tumwater Street just northwest of Tumwater Truck Route and one along Marine Drive as it approaches the Nippon Paper Industries USA plant, Cutler said.
No construction work on the Tumwater Street bridge is expected in the near future, Cutler said, though the approaches of the Marine Drive bridge are slated to be replaced in 2019.
The city’s bridges are inspected every two years, Cutler added.
The new Lauridsen bridge will feature a driving surface 18 feet wider than the existing one and will include an eastbound center turn lane, two 12-foot-wide vehicle lanes and two 5-foot-wide bike lanes.
The traffic signal at the intersection of Race Street and Lauridsen Boulevard, just east of the bridge, also will be replaced as part of the project.
In addition, the surface of Race Street will be ground down at the intersection to match the bridge approaches, Cutler said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.