Redding Bridge rehab continues to face delays in city council
West Memphis Public Works still looking at options for project By John Rech
West Memphis Public Works commissioners couldn’t decide on the best way forward to reinstall the Redding Street Bridge over Ten Mile Bayou and one block north of Bragg Elementary School.
The bridge was pulled up one year ago to be rebuilt but rotted wooden pilings failed leaving a substandard substructure which sent the bridge back for redesign. Consulting engineers presented the new plans and price tag to commissioners who baulked at moving forward.
Mayor Marco McClendon ultimately urged commissioner to wait for the bridge to get re-scheduled for an 80/20 matching state grant for the $750,000 bridge rather than dipping city cash reserves to foot the entire cost.
“We’ve got to be patient,” said McClendon.
“We can’t do it all in one year or we’ll drain our funds.”
Councilman Wayne Croom pointed to the public works deficit and expected borrowing for new residential trash bins and a $600,000 fire truck later in the year and wondered aloud why an existing unfi nished project would have to take a back seat to upcoming planned spending. He said school traffic dictated the need for the bridge replacement now rather than sit out the state project waiting list.
The traffic count before the bridge demolition was 200 vehicles per day. Bragg moved from facing Barton Street to facing Redding. Croom felt traffic counts would climb because of school commuters once the bridge was replaced.
“If that bridge was there and with the school it would be a main channel for traffic there, instead of lining up on Ross.” said Croom.
Later in the day the same bridge came up for discussion in a budget session. Councilman Charles Wheeless said residents in his ward were calling him about getting the bridge finished.
Consultants presented the bridge redesign.
Instead of being built on pilings like the first bridge they planned five box culverts to form the bridge support.
Jim Smith of Sorrell -Smith Engineering provided a time line for the Redding bridge replacement.
“This is a precast box unit and we did one similar for Southland on their frontage road,” said Smith. “Southland had a timeline to get it done quickly. There’s was only a four barrel.
This a five barrel. Realistically you could get it done in five months, weather permitting.”
“If Southland had a timeline, why cant we,” asked Councilwoman Lorraine Mohammed.
“Anytime you set a timeline then the contractor will put that extra cost in there for all that,” said Smith.
City Engineer Amanda Hicks said the city already carried an on-time performance clause.
“We’ve got to be patient… We can’t do it all in one year or we’ll drain our funds.” — West Memphis Mayor Marco Mc-Clendon on the city’s many projects