Letter: Find better way to build bridge
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses are adversely affected by the replacement of a 20-foot bridge across Highway 140, the Washougal River Road, closing that highway for more than two months. The July 15 Columbian story "Event crowds will see detours" does not explore the greater scope of inconveniences, and does not show that this dinky bridge is only 3 feet longer than my pickup truck.
The closure will add 15 to 25 minutes of daily round-trip driving to thousands of commuters, but also to medical, fire, and police services, delivery and trucking services. The detours force thousands of cars daily through residential, albeit rural, neighborhoods. The cost of the inconveniences in Skamania and Clark counties is incalculable and unnecessary.
Why could this relatively tiny span not be pre-fabbed and dropped into place in 10 days instead of 10 weeks? For reference, I think the National Guard could likely do it in one day. The contractor gets a generous bonus if they can complete this fiasco sooner, but the better strategy would be to have conducted a bid based on the fastest possible performance, and penalize any delays.
Luckily, the site now sits at dual dead-ends, so we won't see shovel-leaners grinning about their $1.4 million "make-work" summer project.