Following years of preparation, the city is starting to close off the Eighth Street Bridge in Pendleton in anticipation of replacing it.
Pendleton Public Works Director Bob Patterson said Southeast Eighth Street will see temporary closures from March through May as contractors install footings for the new bridge and other prep work.
The bridge will close to vehicles in June and remain closed for the next 10 months as work crews dismantle the 109-year-old bridge and replace it with a new structure.
During that time, the residents on both sides of the Umatilla River will have to make some adjustments.
A temporary pedestrian bridge will be built 60 feet upstream from the existing bridge in June to provide access across the river. Pedestrians on the Pendleton River Parkway will be redirected at Southeast Seventh and Ninth streets to walk around the construction zone on Byers Avenue.
Additionally, houses on Eighth Street will lose access to their driveways during the construction period and will have to park on Southeast Byers Avenue.
Patterson said the city recently held a community meeting with nearby residents to explain the latest developments. He also intends to send out contact information for the project superintendent should anybody have any more concerns.
As it stands now, the project is behind schedule and over-budget.
When the Pendleton Enhancement Project, a community group comprised of local government officials and nonprofits, became interested in using the bridge trusses for a beautification project on Main Street, the city was forced to delay the project a year while the situation was sorted out.
Patterson said the delay added another half million dollars to the project, meaning the budget is now more than $8 million for a project that has funding from the federal government, the state, the city and Umatilla County. With the city agreeing to provide a more than 10 percent match, the city is responsible for roughly $50,000 more than anticipated.
As for the Pendleton Enhancement Project, Patterson said the group wants to raise the rest of the money needed to relocate the trusses from Eighth Street to the Eagles parking lot off Main Street. If the group can’t raise the money by the time the trusses are removed in August, they will be stored on city property on Byers.