The existing bridge constricts the channel, which magnifies the scour effect of high flows. In order to permanently protect it from 100-year flows, the existing piers and abutments would need to be protected with larger rock to a depth of more than 10-feet. It is unfeasible to do these repairs for a 52-year old timber bridge nearing the end of its useful life. The FHWA approved Emergency Relief (ER) funding for a replacement bridge built to current standards for alignment and width. The new bridge will also create less of a backwater during high flows and may help to relieve some of the upstream flooding that occurs during these flows.
The County hired OBEC, an engineering firm, to do the design of the bridge and the road approaches. The new bridge will be built upstream of the existing bridge along a larger radius curve. The contract for construction of the bridge has been awarded to Delta Construction and will be monitored by County inspectors.
Estimated Total Project Cost is $2.2M and includes engineering, right-of-way, and construction. It is 89.73% funded through Federal ER funds, with a 10.27% local match funded by the County through the gas tax. No new taxes will result.
Construction began in August of 2014. Wipper Road will be open to the public with 1-lane during most of the construction period. However, since the new bridge will be higher than the existing road, there will be two periods of approximately 30 days each when the road will be closed to through traffic. The first of these closures will be from September 22 to October 22, 2014. The second will occur in the late winter or early spring. During these closures the road will still be open to emergency vehicles.
September 16, 2014 Road Closure Notice and Detour Map
June 13, 2013 Public Meeting Announcement