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Greensferry Bridge project still possible

by MADISON HARDY
Staff Writer | December 22, 2020 1:00 AM

Reconstructing the Greensferry Bridge is still on the table for the Post Falls Highway District, despite a neighborhood meeting that ended in resounding opposition and the uncertainty of a 2021 bond election.

Since the Sept. 15 meeting, Daniel Baker, HDR project manager, and staff have continued to work with Post Falls Highway District commissioners to develop potential concepts that would match resident and landscape provisions.

PFHD Commissioner Todd Tondee, who had attended the neighborhood meeting, said that while he realized most of the public input was against the Greensferry Bridge, it's a process the board should follow through.

Last week, Baker presented HDR's draft concepts, including four potential designs and a tentative $29 million to $30 million estimate — that didn't include right of way or land purchase costs.

In project phase one, HDR, with the aid of T-O Engineers and GeoEngineers (who split the contract), has completed field data, public comment and visual concepts.

About 150 adjacent property residents showed up to the neighborhood meeting in September, and most of them expressed a preference for the no-build alternative, Baker said.

"We heard concerns regarding negative impacts that building the bridge would spur unwanted development and growth," Baker said. "People were also worried about property values, as well as safety, and the cost increase to their property taxes."

Many were also worried about if their house could be absorbed by the bridge's right of way, potentially forcing it to be bought by the highway district and torn down.

In HDR's presentation last week, Baker said the engineers wouldn't know what properties would fall under the bridge right of way until phase two. However, the expense of buying those houses would bear a hefty sum, which made the commissioner unsure about moving forward.

"Whatever gets built on that side of the river, we're going to make sure the bridge ties into it," Tondee said. "We don't want to build into a section of 24 properties. We need to know what this is going to look like before we commit to a final design."

As they tweak the project, Baker said HDR would be able to look at adjusting the bridge's horizontal alignment and modify the ending locations.

The meeting's potential conflicts were Rodkey Road's proximity to the bridge's retaining wall, several property driveways, and the intersection at Greensferry Road and Riverview Drive.