The Iron Ore bridge is on the list of worst bridges in the state and qualifies for state funding for replacement.
TOWER- Tower’s Iron Ore bridge, a rusting single-span bridge that crosses the East Two River adjacent to the former Iron Ore Bar had been identified as structurally deficient, and at one point in time was slated for removal. The city had successfully argued that the bridge serves as an essential second exit on the west edge of town and asked that it remain to serve local traffic. The bridge connects the Civic Center area with Harbor Drive, connecting to Highway 135. If the Highway 169 bridge wer ever closed, the bridge serves as the only other exit on that side of town.
At Monday’s council meeting, city officials got some good news from city engineer Matt Bolf. The bridge had made it onto a list of the worst bridges in the state, he said, and by doing so, had qualified for state funding for replacement.
Bolf explained that a new state program would pay 80 percent of the construction costs. The city would be responsible for the remaining construction costs, along with engineering costs. But, Bolf said, additional grant monies might be available from other state bridge funds, which would most likely cover the remaining costs.
The council voted to enter into an agreement with St. Louis County to replace the bridge, and to approve a contract with SEH to provide the engineering services required, at an estimated cost of $66,700 for engineering and planning work, and $9,000 for administrative services. SEH estimated their work would be completed by fall, which would allow the project to be funded for construction as early as 2015.
The total cost for the project, Bolf said, may be close to a million dollars.
Council member Billy Hiltunen asked whether or not a “frog bridge” would be required. The construction of a frog throughway under the new Highway 169 bridge significantly added to the final cost of that project. Bolf reassured the council that a frog bridge would not be required. Plans call for a single span box beam on concrete abutments supported on pilings.