By Shane Nicholson
A bridge over the Union Pacific rail line on South 2nd Street has been closed to traffic to allow the railroad, state and city to assess structural concerns on the roadway.
City Engineer Matt Vitner said he was talking with structural engineers from the railroad Friday after going out to review the state of the bridge.
“The limestone has been pushed out of place by frost and geological forces,” he said. “That’s compromised the ability of the structure to carry loads on it.”
The railroad-maintained bridge, located about one block south of Grove Street south of downtown, previously had its weight limit for vehicles adjusted downward by the city’s Public Works Department.
Union Pacific was to facilitate similar repairs on a South 1st Street bridge, which was closed in May 2015. Vitner says that bridge will never be reopened to vehicle traffic but the city does have plans to further rehab it for pedestrians and bicyclers.
“We’ve got some modifications planned to get the concrete barriers out of there so it looks better for the neighbors.”
Vitner said he will lean on Union Pacific to find a solution to the problems on the 2nd Street bridge as fast as possible.
“I’m going to push the issue,” he told The Times. “It cuts off the local traffic between neighborhoods, and there’s no real agreement on how to maintain the bridge simply because of its age. But I want Union Pacific to come up with an interim solution to reopen the bridge while they figure out how to replace the structure permanently.”
The bridge will remain closed to all vehicle traffic until Union Pacific completes their initial survey and temporary repairs. Public Works says no timeline is currently set but that it will update after the railroad develops its plan.