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Future of Park Avenue Bridge

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 The Park Avenue Bridge in Downtown Waterloo has visible signs of wear and tear and a history of repairs over the decades.

 In a recent meeting, Councilman Steve Schmitt raising the question about the future of the bridge.

 "I would like to have us take a look at converting that [Park Avenue] bridge to a pedestrian only bridge. It continues to have all kinds of problems, it appears," said Schmitt.

 Councilman Ron Welper responded to Schmitt, "Well you might have a little problem with the fire department on that. The fire department needs that to get to the west side."

 "If we have to build a new bridge, they won't have it for quite awhile, so I am sure they have other options," replied Schmitt. "I see them going over my Fifth Street Bridge on a regular bases," continued Schmitt.

  But what does the future of this bridge look like? The Park Avenue Bridge was built in 1938 and is the oldest bridge in downtown.

  "With it being a really old bridge and already deteriorating and it is already embargoed to heavy traffic, whether it makes sense to put a lot of money into it or not is not something we are sure about, yet," said City Engineer Eric Thorson.

 The city will have a better idea of what needs to be done to an expansion joint that was patched over the holidays and possible water erosion to the piers, after an inspection this spring. 

 "With the 3,500 or so vehicles a day, there are people using it and there are pedestrians using it. It is certainly safe enough for that, we believe, at this point," said Thorson.

 That 3,500 vehicles compares to 8,000 on Highway 63 bridges at 1st and Mullan.

 Thorson also reiterating that the fire department use of the bridge as a quick access to the west side.

 The city should have the results of the inspection by this summer.  

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