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Parks and Recreation officials today provided an updated project timetable for replacement of the Riverwalk Trail footbridge over Fall Creek that was washed away by Tropical Storm Michael.
The bridge, which will be wider and heavier, will be in place by early summer, according to the latest projections.
Bids are due on Thursday for the installation of new bridge abutments to support the bridge, which is being fabricated and will be delivered in mid-March. The contract, which will include setting the bridge in place, is expected to be awarded in mid-February.
The contractor will have 120 days to complete the project, weather permitting, once a notice to proceed with construction is issued.
“We agree that it has taken a long time, longer than we wanted or like,” Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia said today. “However, the delay has been due to working through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s process, which could result in as much as 95% to 100% reimbursement for this project by FEMA and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).”
The cost of this project will more than likely be more than $400,000, Sgrinia said.
“In addition to the cost of the bridge and the abutments, we also have engineering costs, construction of road access, and a hydrologic study that shows we are not creating any additional flooding downstream,’ he said. “With the damaged area downstream at Barkers Branch, which could cost close to this same amount, we felt it was important to follow the process to get as much reimbursement from FEMA and VDEM as possible.”
When replaced, the bridge will improve accessibility for trail users. The bridge width will increase from 6 feet to 12 feet, with a deck width of 10 feet. Also, the bridge will have a concrete deck, which will add weight to the structure and make it more difficult for future storms to dislodge it.
The bridge connects two heavily used sections of the trail, which spans 11.4 miles from Ballou Park to near the fire training center on Stinson Drive.
Tropical Storm Michael hammered the city on Oct. 11, 2018, with excessive rainfall rates and gusty winds, which resulted in widespread flash flooding and power outages. The storm damaged more than 200 sites across the city.