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End is in sight for Boeckman Bridge repairs

Completion expected before Thanksgiving


by: JOSH KULLA - Though work is already a few weeks behind schedule, the Boeckman Bridge should be open by Thanksgiving.Work is already a few weeks behind schedule, but the completion of the long-planned refurbishment of the troubled Boeckman Bridge finally is in sight.

Mobilization of work crews is set to begin within days, the first step in carrying out a $1.2 million project to shore up the ramps at either end of the bridge, which extends Southwest Boeckman Road across the Coffee Creek wetland.

It took plenty of work to get to that point.

Because the city of Wilsonville received just one bid for the project, an initial $1.4 million proposal from Woodburn-based Kerr Contractors that was $200,000 above the city’s budget, city officials returned to the drawing board.

A subsequent July 17 resolution from the Wilsonville City Council authorized City Manager Bryan Cosgrove to negotiate with Kerr on the bid in an attempt to reach a compromise that fit within the city’s budget.

On Aug. 5, councilors heard those negotiations had resulted in a successful restructuring of the bid and a new schedule calling for construction mobilization to begin within seven to 10 days.

Wilsonville Director of Community Development Nancy Kraushaar told the council that “value engineering,” use of less expensive materials and a credit for selling the tons of rock used to compress the roadway resulted in enough cost savings to allow the project to move forward.

“We did some value engineering and looked very hard at the scope of the work and we were able to end up with a revised bid with Kerr of $1.18 (million),” Kraushaar said.

Problems with the bridge were discovered soon after its 2008 opening. After engineers found that the ramps at either end of the $20 million bridge were slowly settling into soft soil they first tried reducing the speed limit for vehicle traffic.

When that did nothing to alleviate the settling, the bridge was closed last year to all vehicle and foot traffic.

The city ultimately filed suit and agreed to a 2011 legal settlement worth close to $1 million with the contractor responsible for building the bridge, Nebraska-based HDR Engineering.

After all that, council members were not about to quibble over a few extra weeks of delay in the project timeline. While mobilization now is imminent, Kraushaar said, the project will take longer than expected to actually complete because of difficulties in sourcing needed supplies.

“Completion?” she said in response to council questioning. “Right now, that’s not so good. We’re about three weeks behind because of the contract situation, and Kerr put their schedule together and there are a couple of items that take a long time for delivery. So it looks now like the road will be open the week before Thanksgiving.”

Instead of rebuke, however, the council shrugged off the news.

“I think,” said Mayor Tim Knapp, “the community would be ecstatic to have it open by Thanksgiving.”



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