Repainting, deck resurfacing and related repairs are planned for the Meeker Street Bridge in Kent, considered one of the gateways to the city.
Construction and painting isn’t expected to start until 2024, but the Kent City Council approved a $352,519 consultant agreement with Bellevue-based TranTech Engineering to develop design plans, specifications and cost estimates for the bridge repainting and deck resurfacing work, according to city documents.
“It will be under construction in 2024,” City Public Works Director Chad Bieren said at the Jan. 9 council’s Public Works Committee meeting when it approved the contract. “We will start design in 2023.”
City staff has estimated the rehabilitation cost at $5.9 million, according to Kent’s 2022-2027 Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan. TranTech will make its own estimate.
Steve Lincoln, a Public Works engineer, told the council committee that the city has obtained $4.5 million in federal grants to help pay for the project. Other funding sources could include the city’s business and occupation tax.
The Meeker Street Bridge crosses the Green River just east of Kent Des Moines Road, aka State Route 516, and west of the Riverbend Golf Complex and Ethos apartments. The bridge was built in 1958.
City staff picked TranTech for the design work after a request for qualifications from companies and an interview process in October and November of 2022.
“TranTech was the most qualified,” Lincoln said.
The company will perform structural and loading analysis; design of paint containment and work platforms for the bridge; lead paint analysis and remediation design; design of structural steel spot repairs; and deck pavement design.
Once the plans are finalized, the city will put the project out to bid and TranTech will provide bid support services, according to city documents.
“It will require full repaint and structure repair,” Lincoln said. “There are cracks and corrosion on the bridge.”
When work starts in 2024, partial or full closure to traffic on the bridge will be required, Lincoln said. The city will provide public notice prior to any closures.
“It depends if it’s full or partial closure,” Lincoln said about the length of any shutdown. “We will discuss it further as we go into design.”
Lincoln said full closure will shorten the work period but force drivers to use alternate routes. A partial closure, one side at a time with one lane open, would require a longer construction period.
“It’s something to discuss and get public input for the best approach to minimize the impact on the public,” Lincoln said.
The bridge is a popular commuting route. Just west of the bridge, the average daily traffic count is 18,900 vehicles with 4% truck traffic, according to city documents.
“The bridge has severe paint scaling with 70% of top chords of the trusses peeled to the primer, as well as bottom trusses and vertical hangers,” according to city documents. “Pack rust is visible. The bridge deck has severe exposed short transverse rebar (steel rod) with spalls (chips) concentrated in both eastbound and westbound lanes.
“The worst area is in the southern lane. The lanes have about 50-55% exposed transverse rebar on the bridge decking. Due to aging of the bridge, the existing finger expansion joints need to be replaced, including the reinsert and glue bearing pads.”
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