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Rogue River bridge design OK'd

ROGUE RIVER - It's unanimous: Architectural designs for replacing the town's picturesque but inadequate Depot Street Bridge were approved by all who attended three public meetings seeking input on the project.

The designs by David Evans and Associates Architects also showed plans for improvements to the bridge's two adjacent parks, John Fleming Memorial Rest Area and Coyote Evans Wayside.

"There was 100 percent approval for the projects' design renderings," said Public Works Director Ken Johnson.

The Depot Street Bridge deck is 200 feet long with two lanes of traffic and a narrow shoulder. Built in 1951, the steel truss bridge is nearing the end of its capacity to handle increasing traffic volumes or the stress of severe flooding.

The new long-span, tied-arch bridge will be 305 feet long and feature two 12-feet-wide travel lanes and a 14-foot left-hand-turn refuge.

The current bridge has three piers stationed in the Rogue River. The new design calls for only one pier in the water. The long-span design creates less opportunity for obstructing flow, is more environmentally friendly and will have greater structural integrity, architects said.

Additionally, the new bridge will have an 8-foot-wide pedestrian walkway with benched bump-outs at midspan so walkers can stop and view the river from a safe location.

The city of Rogue River is taking the opportunity to do some projects in conjunction with the bridge and park renovations with the help of a $1.47 million Oregon Transportation Investment Act grant.

City officials have a long wish list of proposed projects for the OTEA money. Provided the bids come in on budget, the grant will fund the following: widening of the Depot Street crossing area to three lanes; installation of two new railroad swing-gate signals; improvements to the Pine/Classick/Depot streets intersection; sidewalks, traffic signals and road widening at the Interstate 5 access ramps; an access management plan for Highway 99 businesses affected by the realignment of the new bridge; and landscaping for the area.

Johnson said the city will pay for placement of water and sewer lines on the new bridge and for utility improvements underground on Highway 99. In an effort to provide better water flow to businesses and residents on the Highway 99 side of the bridge, the city hopes to increase the diameter of the existing water line from 6 inches to 12 inches.

"We anticipate these costs to be in the $200,000 to $400,000 range. We'll refine that number during the bidding process," said Johnson.

Bids for the bridge construction will be opened in January 2003. Actual construction is slated to begin in late spring and early summer.

Sanne Specht is a free-lance writer living in Rogue River. Reach her at.