News Flash

Parks and Recreation

Posted on: May 22, 2023

Northside Pedestrian Bridge project update

Why is the Northside Pedestrian Bridge important?

The Northside Pedestrian Bridge is a crucial route for pedestrians and cyclists traveling to and from the Northside Neighborhood. As the only accessible pathway, it plays a vital role in the community's transportation network. Reopening the 23-year-old bridge is the City's top transportation priority.

When will the bridge reopen?

We aim to reopen the bridge by late 2023. Project managers are currently seeking bids from qualified contractors to do the necessary repairs. The bid submission period ends on June 9, 2023.

If the City receives a qualified bid at an acceptable price and timeline, we will select a contractor and award the proposal by early July. The chosen contractor will then have 120 calendar days to complete the repairs.

However, before construction begins, there are several issues that project managers need to address. These include securing additional funding for the project, obtaining construction bids within the allocated budget, and negotiating construction access with adjacent property owners.

Why is the bridge closed?

The City closed the Northside Pedestrian Bridge on September 30, 2023, due to safety concerns. Engineers discovered significant cracking in the bridge decking and support structures, prompting immediate closure. Ensuring the safety of our community is of utmost importance, which is why the City has consistently monitored the bridge conditions and conducted expert inspections throughout its lifespan. However, despite diligent maintenance and assessments, it was impossible to predict when or how quickly conditions would deteriorate to warrant the emergency closure of this 23-year-old structure.

In 2016, Parks and Recreation identified accelerated deck pan rusting, leading the City to hire engineers for a thorough inspection and cost estimation for repairs and rehabilitation. This additional analysis helped us evaluate the bridge's safety and seek the necessary funding. The City Council approved funding in late 2020 to repair the bridge decking.

However, in 2021, as we were about to solicit construction bids for the deck repairs, engineers noticed newly developed cracks in the masonry bridge supports. Project managers suspended the bid process to investigate the damage and develop a remediation plan. The deteriorating bridge deck and these structural issues ultimately led engineers to recommend immediate closure to safeguard public safety.

It's worth noting that the bridge was designed prior to the adoption of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) guidelines and other park design standards.

What does the repair project entail?

The repair project includes various aspects such as removing and replacing masonry walls with concrete walls, demolishing and replacing concrete access ramps, making interior modifications, performing concrete curb and gutter work, repainting, and replacing electrical systems. Our engineering consultants have determined that repairing the bridge is the most practical and cost-effective solution compared to a complete replacement.

The estimated cost of the repair project is $2.5 million. The City has allocated $900,000 from Park District funds for the project and is exploring additional funding sources for the remainder.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Gaukler, Parks and Recreation Director
406-721-PARK (7275)  Email Donna

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