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Failing bridge in Afton could cost $75,000 to replace

A recent state inspection found one Afton bridge to be in need of replacement.

Afton City Engineer Diane Hankee said during a Feb. 21 Afton City Council meeting that a small bridge located along Valley Creek Trail will need to be replaced following a state agency's findings.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) gave the bridge a 31.6 rating during a recent inspection. That rating is considered failing, according to the department. Bridges rated below 50 on a 100-point scale are considered structurally deficient, but that doesn't mean they will fall down.

A similar bridge project on South 30th Street cost roughly $75,000. Hankee said the costs to replace the Valley Creek Trail bridge would likely come to a similar amount.

MnDOT mandates failing bridges be replaced when they are "cost effective to replace," Hankee said.

The city is also thinking about narrowing the bridge, which would put it in the category of a culvert instead of a bridge. The move would require approval from the local watershed district.

State grants covering bridge replacement projects could go toward reconstruction costs, but they wouldn't cover the cost of narrowing the bridge.

"It might be just as cost effective to replace it with your own funding," she told council members.

City officials are also eyeing costly road upgrades to be done in the following years.

Afton has about five bridges longer than 10 feet.

MnDOT inspects and rates certain bridges every one to two years.

The department's inspection of a bridge on Trading Post Trail found it was in good condition.