University District bridge project six weeks behind schedule, officials say progress is being made

Thursday, September 27, 2018

(As reported by Alexa Block with KREM2)

SPOKANE, Wash. — The University District Gateway Bridge project is about six weeks behind schedule, but city officials said they are making progress.

The City of Spokane is constructing a pedestrian bridge that will link the downtown University District to East Sprague Avenue. At 120 feet tall the arch is to be a new staple of the Spokane skyline. And the bridge that accompanies it is meant to draw people to the area.

The project had been in the works for a decade. The city broke ground on the project in March 2017.

Marlene Feist, a spokesperson with the city’s public works and utilities department, said they have had a number of challenges during this construction project.

She cites scheduling conflicts with the railroad being one. There are certain types of activities workers cannot do during certain times when the trains are running.

The team also had to take another look at the tensioning of the bridge's cables to make sure they can hold up the bridge. This is done through what is called structural analysis.

In a statement from Garco Construction, the company building the bridge, they said they are currently working on changing the designs for the drainage system on the south end of the bridge.

“The changes are necessary to ensure the drainage system can support future development like the Avista Catalyst project, that will strengthen and enhance the University District and Sprague corridor,” the statement said.

The project also hit a few snags when it came to the materials they needed. At this point, they are waiting for the safety railings to come in which are currently on back order.

"We have to make sure people are protected,” Feist said.

The project is about six weeks behind. The city anticipates the University District Gateway Bridge will be completed and open in mid to late November.