Private bridge safety will be open house topic

Meeting in Camas is set for Feb. 9

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An open house that will provide a forum to discuss the importance of maintenance of private bridges in Clark County will be held Thursday, Feb. 9 in Camas.

The event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., at East County Fire and Rescue Station 91, 600 N.E. 267th Ave.

The county has drafted proposed standards for the construction of new private bridges, rather than continuing to rely on federal standards. If adopted, local standards are expected to reduce construction and repair costs for private bridges.

For an existing private bridge, the proposed standards would require action only if additional homes are built or new lots are created.

In such cases, developers or home builders could choose to have the private bridge inspected and possibly upgraded or alternatively, provide fire-resistant construction, such as homes with fire sprinklers.

A private bridge that may not be sturdy enough to support a fire engine, which can weigh up to 60,000 pounds, could delay firefighters and paramedics during an emergency.

If equipment cannot cross a private bridge, firefighters will respond, even if it means carrying heavy equipment or running hoses for extended distances for a delayed response.

Clark County has identified 679 potential locations where roads or driveways cross waterways, based on data from the county’s geographic information system.

Tentative plans call for the Board of Clark County Commissioners to hold a work session to discuss the issue at 9 a.m. on March 14, in the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing 6:30 p.m. on March 15, at the same location.

For more information, visit www.clark.wa.gov/privatebridges.