Initial costs have been determined in building a replacement for the bridge at Spotts which was closed after being declared unsafe by engineers last week.
Herb Carlson, SRU Assistant Vice President for Construction Design and Management, stated the cost as about $150,000. However, the bridge could not be replaced until summer at the earliest.
Carlson said that this deadline is not ideal for the university and getting the bridge reopened as soon as possible is important, even if it means a quick fix.
“The engineer is supposed to come up with an estimated cost,” Carlson said.
The University has approved expenses to replace the bridge, but estimates for the temporary replacement have not yet come in from engineers. Cost would likely be an important factor on if a temporary replacement will be initiated.
“That’s a decision that has to be made by someone that isn’t me. It becomes a question of is it worth spending that money.”
The causes of the bridge shut down have also been determined as the result of spalling and damaged wiring in the structure of the bridge.
Built in 1970, the bridge underwent 30 years of cracking and erosion that was exasperated by salting the bridge in the winter to reduce snow and ice. In 2000, a heating system was installed to reduce the need for salt in the winter.
However, when the system was installed, drilling caused damage to essential support wiring that ran inside the bridge. It also allowed water to enter the cement. Over the years, the damaged wires have rusted and become less and less stable, in addition to the ongoing cracking.
“The engineers who designed that should have realized what they were doing,” Carlson said.
With the new bridge approved, the current one is expected to be demolished.
“The whole thing will go away. We’ll have a new preengineered bridge that will be all metal,” Carlson said. The heating system will then be added and concrete poured overtop the entire structure. It has yet to be determined if the bridge will still extend from the second floor or if it will slope down to the first or up to the third. Carlson felt that the most likely location for the bridge will be to remain where it currently resides.