The state transportation department has started posting signs on more than 800 of the state’s worst bridges. But that’s good news because those signs mean those bridges are going to be replaced within five years.
The department has not been able to put together a plan to have one team of designers, engineers, and contractors design, finance, build, and maintain all 800 bridges. The uncertain credit market killed that scheme.
So it’s going to do separate contracts on each one.
Department spokesman Bob Brendel says the signs should not make motorists think the bridge is not safe to drive on. He says the department would have closed the bridges if they were dangerous. Some of the bridges date to the 30s. Some are so old they’re built on wooden pilings.
The new plan will replace the entire bridge at one time. It won’t be a case of closing one lane and replacing the other, then doing the other lane with the new one being used. It’s quicker and more cost-efficient to do it all at once.
Brendel says the signs will alert travelers to prepare for the time when the bridge will be closed. He says community briefings will let people know when the bridge will be shut down and replaced.