By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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City public works staff are planning an open house for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 in the Port Angeles City Council Chambers, 321 E. Fifth St.
They plan to lay out details of the proposed closure schedule, detours and alternate routes necessitated by the bridge replacement and feature artist's renderings of the new bridge.
Start in March
Barring any unforeseen delays, city project manager Jim Mahlum expects the bridge project — expected to cost $4.6 million, including design and permitting costs — to start in March of 2013 and wrap up by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
The bridge will be completely closed for at least six months, Mahlum said, with expected detour routes drawn along East Park Avenue to the south and East Eighth Street to the north.
Mahlum said the detour routes will resemble those in place when the bridge closes for inspections, which is required every two years.
“It will basically be the same kind of detour we've done in the past,” he said.
“It's just going to be longer.”
The design of the bridge is 80 percent finished, Mahlum said, with design completion expected this December.
The Port Angeles City Council approved a $1.26 million contract with Lacey-based Exceltech Consulting in March of this year to design the bridge replacement.
The project, 80 percent of which will be funded through a federal grant administered by the state Department of Transportation, will completely replace the 43-year-old two-lane bridge with one that will meet all federal highway regulations for handling large trucks, Mahlum explained.
“We don't have a choice on that,” Mahlum said.
“The [Federal Highway Administration] mandates that we build to those standards.”
The current bridge's structural rating is 23 out of a possible 100 points, Mahlum said, which is one of the reasons it qualified for a federal replacement grant.
For comparison, the recently replaced Eighth Street bridges having structural ratings of 90, Mahlum said.
The road surface on the new bridge will stretch 46 feet from curb to curb — 18 feet wider than the current bridge.
The new bridge surface also will include a bike lane on either side of the road, a separate turn lane on the eastbound side and 6-foot-6-inch-wide sidewalks — 3 feet wider than the current sidewalks.
For more information on the project or the open house, contact Mahlum at 360-417-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.