City says repairs needed on 4th Street bridge - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City says repairs needed on 4th Street bridge

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

It's something you'd drive right by, or right over, if you weren't looking. And if you live or work in Waterloo, you probably do. Directly below the south end of the 4th Street bridge, the embankment is in obvious need of repair.

"We think that it probably started during the 2008 flood. There was probably material that was washed away from underneath the bridge," Waterloo City Engineer Eric Thorson said.

At some point, the loss of material created a sinkhole.

"It is not a structural problem. There's no safety issue with the bridge. It's kind of more of a cosmetic thing," Thorson said.

Identifying the problem is the easy part, but repairing it will be tough.

"It appears it's going to cost about $300,000 to repair it, because its very hard to access. It's not going to be an easy project. It's going to be hard for a contractor to get under there and do the work," said Thorson.

It's the city's job to keep people from crawling under the bridge and injuring themselves. Keeping in mind, it's several feet down into the hole, and a child could easily slide through the barrier into the water.

"We've tried to keep it barricaded off so people won't be under there," Thorson said.

The city works to keep fencing in place, although anyone who wants to get in would still be able to. Which is why it ranks high on the engineer's priority list.

"It's up there fairly high. Something we want to get done, something we want to get completed as soon as we can," Thorson said.

The project is scheduled for next year. Until then, you can drive over the bridge, knowing the mess underneath will not impact your commute.

The 4th Street bridge is about 40 years old. Most bridges have a life span of up to 100 years.

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