DT Grand Ave. Bridge to Be Replaced - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

DT Grand Ave. Bridge to Be Replaced

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by Phil Prazan

pprazan@myabc5.com

@PhilPrazan

How much does history cost?  The jury's still out, but we know it's more than $7.2 million.

That's at least how much it will cost to take down and replace the Grand Ave. bridge downtown over the Des Moines River.

"We're at the very beginning of the process," says Councilwoman Christine Hensley.  She has driven over the historic bridge arches many times.

"That's all I know are those bridges and there's a lot of historic significance there," says Hensley.

In April she'll have a vote and the bridge's fate in her hands.

Federal law requires cities to test the durability in their bridges.

Last year, a core sample showed the rust on the downtown Grand Ave. bridge was not only on the outside, but the whole thing is not structurally sound.

So the process begins to replace the bridge that's been here since 1900.

"It's very difficult and expensive to build those kinds of bridges now," says Jeb Brewer, Des Moines's city engineer.

Repairing the damage could cost up to double the $7.2 million to replace it with a new bridge.

Not to mention the time.

"It will take quite a bit of time to rebuild the bridge but we want to try and minimize that as much as possible," says Brewer.

"They're talking about completely closing down Grand ave. and we are all very sensitive to that after what we've been through further west," says Hensley.

The city council will vote around April for the future of the bridge that gave our city more than 100 years of use, hoping to replace it with one that will go 100 more.

"We kind of feel an obligation to the future that we want to build a bride that will last a long time," says Jeb Brewer.

If this passes through the council in April, construction on the new Grand Avenue bridge will be next summer. Then the city will start looking at the other downtown bridges: Locust, Walnut and Court.

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