A one-lane bridge in the Riverbottom neighborhood is structurally inadequate and has exceeded its life expectancy, but a new bridge likely won't be built until 1995.
"We don't believe growth in that area will be any faster to demand a new bridge until then," Mayor Joe Jenkins said. "It is sufficient for the traffic we have now."The city's main concern, however, is there is only one good point of access for about 152 acres, said Leland Gammette, community development director. "Nothing should really be developed until there is a second point of access."
City Engineer Nick Jones said two access points are necessary for emergency equipment to enter the area. The present bridge has a 10-ton limit, and the city's fire trucks exceed that limit.
"It will cause a loss of fire protection if no truck can go across," he said. "We are hoping to get the bridge done sooner. They can use another access from the Orem Center Street, but if that is ever blocked, they would have no access."
Jones said the bridge probably will stand for a few years, but only with geometric support for one lane. "It is not safe to meet today's minimum standards. It is just too narrow for an area that is developing for a higher-density atmosphere."
Gammette said approximately $550,000 will be needed to replace the bridge with a 56-foot-wide structure. The city likely will cover 20 percent of the cost.
At this week's City Council meeting, council members agreed to investigate the possibility of charging impact fees for the project and to follow a replacement schedule as outlined by Gammette.
An impact fee would generate bridge money by placing fees on property owners. Preliminary figures for the assessment per acre are $2,800 to $3,100. There are 18 parcels of property in the area with 14 owners.
Gammette said impact fees are attractive because there is usually a charge only when development occurs. This protects existing property owners from unanticipated costs that cannot be recovered.
Before the impact fee is established, all property owners would be notified and could meet with city officials. District boundaries then would be formed and a public hearing held.
The Heritage Girls School is one of the largest land owners in the area with an 18-acre parcel. When the school was built in 1985, the city agreed to that if ultimately the school participated in bridge development.
On a scale of zero to 100 with 100 being the best, the bridge's annual sufficiency rating is 51. Jones said once a bridge drops to 50 or below, it is eligible for federal bridge replacement funds.
Another bridge in the city, the Columbia Lane bridge, is being replaced using federal funds, he said.
Federal funds could be used on the Carterville Road bridge, but there is no guarantee that those funds will be available, because only $1 million a year is allotted to the state. The Columbia Lane bridge alone is taking $750,000, or 75 percent of the funds for this year.