Last week's incident on the Skagit River likely gave most of us pause as we thought about the bridges we cross every day and how we take these structures for granted. It also made me thankful for our own planning the last several years as now two of Sumner's bridges are well on their way to being replaced.
In Sumner's downtown, our 80 plus year-old Bridge Street bridge is being replaced. We have already secured the funding from Federal grants and hired BergerABAM to design a new bridge. Because this bridge is such a centerpiece in our town, there will be a public design process coming soon for the artistic aspects of the bridge. Right now, the engineers are working on the bridge's bones to figure out what will best serve us (including large trucks) structurally for the next 80 years. BergerABAM is also working on a plan to keep that vital link open during construction of a new bridge.
On the northern end of our City, we just won a regional grant to design a replacement for the 8th Street/Stewart Road bridge. That bridge was built in the '50s and is structurally sound but too narrow for modern demands and susceptible to flood damage. Although our funding so far is just for design, having a bridge designed and ready to be built makes us much more competitive in getting future grant money to actually build it.
Please join me in thanking our engineers and Public Works team for being so diligent in getting funding to replace our bridges before they land in the water and on national news. We have obtained more grant funding per capita than any other jurisdiction in this region for bridges, roads and trails, and that's important for us to get quality, safe infrastructure without sending our taxes sky high.
The other lesson from Skagit County is a good reminder to all drivers to watch those height and weight restrictions. Just a reminder that if your vehicle is over 12 tons, you can no longer use the Bridge Street bridge until the new one is constructed.