AUBURN — A dilapidated Auburn bridge, targeted for replacement in 2017, will need prompt attention, city officials have been advised.
The state Department of Transportation has called for immediate repairs to the city's North Division Street bridge, Auburn City Manager Jeff Dygert said Thursday.
The bridge is located off Arterial West and intersects with Clark Street. A developing $3.5-million construction project will see the bridge replaced and realigned next year to address several traffic concerns.
City officials hope to select a contractor for the replacement by spring. The DOT's determination, however, requires the city to hire a firm for temporary repairs within 45 days, said Bill Lupien, superintendent of engineering services.
Lupien said city engineers have been monitoring the bridge's deterioration to date. Addressing the Auburn City Council on Thursday, Lupien said staff planned ahead in case the bridge failed state inspection.
A previous estimate for temporary repairs put the cost between $75,000 and $80,000.
Dygert offered city councilors two choices Thursday: paying for the temporary repairs or closing the bridge to traffic until the replacement. Lupien said the city has reached out for more estimates from four other design firms to get a better idea on the cost.
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The bridge could be shut down for more than a year if councilors decide to shut it down ahead of the project. Replacement construction is on pace to start this fall, which Lupien said will likely shut down the bridge for two to six months.
"We'd have all those truckers going over either Aurelius Avenue or over Washington Street. Each one of those goes into residential areas," he said. "The North Division Street (bridge) is really critical for everybody on the northwest site of the city."
Officials do not anticipate any closures for the temporary repairs.
Dygert said councilors will consider authorizing temporary repairs likely within the next week or two. Councilor Jimmy Giannettino wondered whether the replacement project — which will be fully funded through federal and state sources — can be expedited given the circumstances. However, Lupien said the project is "moving full blast."
"I'm just seeing if there is any way we can speed up the process with the federal government," Giannettino said. "I understand that it's being fully funded, but it's still $75,000 or $80,000 that we're spending on something temporary, and I have a problem with that."