By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The crowd gathered at the bridge's midpoint as sixth-grader and student body president Ella Holland, 11, helped Port Angeles Mayor Dan Di Guilio, Project Manager Mike Wilson of Scarsella Brothers Inc., and Exeltech Inc. President Santosh Kurvilla cut a giant red ribbon tied across the $5.8 million, three-lane bridge.
Kent-based Scarsella Brothers was the general contractor on the project, and the engineering design was completed by Exeltech, a company based in Lacey with an office in Port Angeles.
It replaces a narrow two-lane bridge built in 1969 and determined by engineers to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.
The old bridge was closed and demolished in August, forcing traffic to use detours around the project.
The city received a $4.7 million grant from the state Department of Transportation for the replacement, and the city paid the remaining $1.1 million cost.
The new bridge was presented to the crowd by Craig Fulton, director of Port Angeles Public Works and Utilities.
“This new bridge design will greatly enhance citizen access to many important destinations along the Lauridsen Boulevard corridor, no matter what mode of travel they may choose,” Fulton said.
The bridge is 147 feet long and has two traffic lanes, a turn lane for cars turning left to South Race Street, two 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes and 6.5-foot-wide sidewalks.
Visually, the bridge design resembles the two Eighth Street bridges with metal rails above a concrete safety divider.
Students from the school, located a block east of the bridge at the corner of South Washington and East Lauridsen Boulevard, crossed the bridge en masse as the ribbon fell.
After the walk was over, members of the city council became the first non-construction drivers to cross the bridge in their vehicles.
Within minutes of the ceremony's end, the new traffic lights at the intersection of Lauridsen and South Race were functioning, including crosswalk signals that verbally announce crossing information to pedestrians.
A block south of the newly reconfigured intersection, a temporary four-way stop at South Race Street and East Park Avenue that had been installed for improved traffic control during the project became permanent with new metal posts and pavement markings.
“It was pretty unanimous among the many residents and police. The four-way stop improved safety and traffic flow,” Fulton said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.