Built in 1927, the historic Woodin Avenue Bridge with its iconic lamp posts, stretches 450-feet over pristine Lake Chelan and serves as a grand entrance to the City of Chelan’s downtown. During the summer tourist season, the bridge bustles with people, baby strollers, cars, trucks, trailers, and RVs. Until 2019, this was all hap- pening within the confines of two 10-foot vehicle lanes and narrow four-foot sidewalks on each side. There was no disagreement that the town had outgrown the narrow concrete bridge, but the City grappled with how to address safety concerns related to its heavy use and geo- graphic restrictions. Additionally, the bridge itself was in dire need of rehabilitation to fix numerous issues such as exposed rebar, leaning bridge railings, failed expansion joints, faulty bridge wiring, lighting issues, cracked side- For more than a decade, the City considered a myriad of options including replacement bridges, a companion pedestrian bridge, and bridge widening. When these options proved too costly, the City had to take a step back and look for an alternative solution. In 2016, a review of regional traffic patterns revealed a solution: by redistributing the traffic, they could reduce the bridge to a single, one- way lane to make space for high-volume sidewalks and accommo- date bicyclists. The City and the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council, in partner- ship with consulting firm SCJ Alliance, crafted a vision to improve community walkability, separate traffic movements through the down- town core, accommodate bicyclists, and maintain the bridge’s historic charm. The one-way bridge reconfiguration would also incorporate changes to the intersections and roadways at both ends of the bridge. These would include new concrete ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) curb ramps, as well as pavers, colored concrete sidewalks, perma- nent signing, landscaping, and irrigation installations. “For years the City had been trying to figure out how to expand the bridge’s capacity and make it more of a gateway feature,” said SCJ Al- liance Project Manager Dan Ireland. Ireland, himself a civil engineer, partnered with Greg Hess a structural engineer with KPFF Consulting Engineers. Greg and his team led the bridge structural design which included important structural repairs to the bridge columns, superstruc- ture, bridge railings, and iconic bridge lights. walks, and a rutted bridge deck. Getting to a Design Solution Creativity and Collaboration Transform a Historic Downtown Gateway By Dan Ireland and Greg Hess
The solution included tearing up the historic downtown sidewalks and roadway, which the City recognized as an opportunity for some much- needed infrastructure improvements, particularly upgrading 1,200 feet of the existing water main to a 16-inch-diameter pipe. About 700 feet of the pipe could hang suspended under the bridge, hidden between existing bridge girders.
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