Board votes to remove old bridgeBridge 5600. The Rock Island Bridge. The J.A.R. swing bridge. The Newport rail bridge. Call it what you will, because soon it will be gone.
By: Hank Long, Woodbury Bulletin
Bridge 5600. The Rock Island Bridge. The J.A.R. swing bridge. The Newport rail bridge. Call it what you will, because soon it will be gone.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a bid contract for removal of the bridge that spans the Mississippi River from St. Paul Park to Inver Grove Heights.
A 50-foot portion of the bridge on the Washington County side of the river fell down in November and since then Washington County officials have designated the structure as an emergency removal project.
The first phase of the removal process of the more than 100-year-old defunct bridge may begin as early as next week, county officials said Tuesday. The second phase would begin later this summer, but, per the contract for removal, Dakota County has until June 15 to make a decision if it wants to salvage any part of bride on its side of the river, said Wayne Sandberg, deputy director for Washington County public works.
Last month, there was a possibility the removal timeline would be delayed as the National Parks Service had expressed interest in studying the historic preservation opportunities for the bridge. But Sandberg told county commissioners Tuesday that the state and Army Corps of Engineers have deemed the removal project is not a federal action, which means the National Parks Service has no authority over the process.
Last month the county expressed a desire to remove the damaged Washington County portion of the bridge as soon as possible, as the shipping channel on the river is expected to open up later this month.
The county awarded the bid for removal of the bridge to Veit and Company Inc., which submitted the lowest price at nearly $1.37 million. Although Washington County is considered the fiscal manager of the bridge, the state technically owns the structure, which means the county will receive state disaster aid to removed the bridge, which has been closed to traffic since 1999.