"At risk of collapse."
Those were the words from an engineering report before city council on Monday night that showed the Seventh Avenue Southwest bridge could not hold its own dead weight and should be closed to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic immediately.
The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 2015 after it was damaged by an ice jam. The report showed that the piles underneath the bridge that weren’t damaged from the ice jam are now taking on extra loads.
“The statement in here that just rocks me is ‘the bridge should be closed immediately to the public with the snowfall already underway. This has introduced additional loading to the bridge.’ Lord forbid that there was a family walking across there pulling a baby in a sleigh and the bridge collapses,” said Coun. Heather Eby.
Coun. Dawn Luhning is expecting there is be backlash for the fact the bridge will need to be closed down completely.
“I'm sure nobody in the city is going to be thrilled with the fact that really the bridge shouldn't be open at all right now for any kind of traffic whether it be pedestrian or vehicular at this point.”
The report gave three different options to remedy the situation.
The first would be to remove the deck, replace the damaged pilings, and replace the deck at a cost of $600,000 to $800,000. This option would only be temporary as the bridge would still not be able to sustain a one-in-50-year flood event because it would be too low.
The second option would be to demolish the damaged side of the bridge and make it a single lane two-way traffic bridge at a price of about $200,000. Like the first option, the bridge would still be too low in case of a major flood.
The third option would be to demolish the damaged bridge and build a new one that would cost over $3 million after fees and contingencies.
Administration said it would equate to a 12 per cent tax increase if the bridge was to be replaced now.
Deb Thorn and Tim Avery live on the south side of the bridge and currently, the only way to their properties is through a locked gate through the former Valley View property that is now owned by Carpere.