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Healdsburg Memorial Bridge Rehab Gets Tentative OK -- With Conditions

Tentative approval hinges on Healdsburg devoting $160,000 to $200,000 of annual gas tax revenue for maintenance.

After a year of uncertainty, lovers may get their Christmas present after all.

The gift may well be state approval of rehabitation funds for the historic and beloved span -- saved from demolition last year by a groundswell of lobbying by the grassroots

A Federal Highway Administration official said the city could obtain rehab money for the bridge under a set of three conditions, according to Mike Kirn, Healdsburg Public Works Director.

That is a significant step forward from several weeks ago, when Kirn said at Monday's Healdsburg City Council meeting.

"We're a lot further along than we were a month ago," Kirn said Monday. The state has already approved funds for a seismic retrofit on the bridge, but without the rehabilitation money, an earthquake-proofing was seen as counterproductive.

Kirn told Healdsburg City Council that he and attended a two-hour briefing at the bridge site on Dec. 7 with state and federal officials.

Acording to Kirn, the Federal Highway Administration official said he would tentatively "allow the city to move forward with rehabilitiation"  under the following conditions:

-- the bridge height be slightly elevated.

-- safety barriers be installed along the bridge travel lanes.

-- Healdsburg commits to set aside $160,000 to $200,000 annually -- or roughly two-thirds of the city's annual $300,000 in gas tax revenue -- for bridge maintenance and upkeep.

"We told him that the City Council and the community wants the rehabilitation," Kirn said.

, was not present for Monday night's council meeting, which was only lightly attended by the time of the bridge issue discussion.

Because of the light attendance, Councilman Jim Wood requested that the bridge issue -- and the proposed attached conditions  -- be placed on a January meeting agenda for public discussion.

"The public needs to be made aware of this issue," Wood said. "It's significant."

Since the Dec. 7 meeting, Kirn said he has followed up with appearances at other gatherings, including a California Transportation Commission meeting last week in Riverside. 

Kirn said Healdsburg's Caltrans connection requested Kirn attend the state commission meeting so that various state agency officials are made aware of the city's intentions regarding the historic and beloved Healdsburg Memorial Bridge.

"I think it was helpful for Healdsburg to get on their (state commission) radar," Kirn said.

austin December 21, 2011 at 03:43 AM
" Healdsburg commits to set aside $160,000 to $200,000 annually...for bridge maintenance and upkeep ," what an insane waste. How could it cost that much to maintain? It is a dinky little bridge.
Mel Amato January 01, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Austin, The propose detailed maintenance schedule actually adds up to $134,000. The maintenance schedule is posted on our City’s website as part of the agenda for the Jan 3 Council meeting. Click on item number 8F. on the agenda at the following link: http://www.ci.healdsburg.ca.us/index.aspx?recordid=1844&page=127 Last week I requested a copy of that report and received it immediately. I will send a copy to Healdsburg Patch who may be able to post it on their site. In my view, the $134,000 is overstated since it includes a major painting recoat in 20 years at $500,000 and a complete painting strip to bare metal and coating replacement in 60 years at $1,900,000. These are all at today’s costs and are assumed to increase at a rate of 2.75% per year. The proposed annual cost (sinking fund for future maintenance) would also increase each year at the same 2.75% rate. In my view, these 2 major tasks are actually not maintenance but can be considered as rehabilitation tasks in year 20 and year 60. They comprise 53% of the claimed annual maintenance costs. Since they are major rehabilitation tasks, Federal grants could be applied for in years 20 and 60 so that the actual annual maintenance costs would be much less. Suggest that you attend the Jan 3 Council meeting at 6:00 pm if you want to voice your opinion to Council, ask questions and learn more.
Mel Amato January 01, 2012 at 08:38 PM
The sentence above "includes a major painting recoat in 20 years at $500,000" should say "includes a major painting recoat in 20 years and 40 years at $500,000 each". The sentence "can be considered as rehabilitation tasks in year 20 and year 60." should say "can be considered as rehabilitation tasks in year 21, year 41 and year 60." The sentence "Federal grants could be applied for in years 20 and 60" should say "Federal grants could be applied for in years 21, 41 and 60"

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