Motocross fans might wonder why the project to replace the Cougar Creek Bridge started yesterday instead of waiting one week.
The project requires a complete closure of Northeast Washougal River Road, from Milepost 5.1 to 5.2 for an estimated 15 weeks. The bridge is located at Milepost 5.16.
During the project, traffic is being detoured around the construction zone. The designated detour route includes 17th Street, Evergreen Highway, 32nd Street, Jennings Road, 357th Avenue and Vernon Road.
Jeff Mize, Clark County Public Works public information outreach manager, said contractor Conway Construction Co., of Ridgefield, wanted to begin work as soon as possible because of a tight schedule.
“Replacing Cougar Creek Bridge requires in-stream work, which must be completed no later than Aug. 31,” he said. “With our narrow window for in-water work, it would be difficult to build this project without impacting the Washougal MX National.”
Clark County had an initial meeting with the track manager in January to discuss the bridge replacement.
“All along we have been planning for the bridge to be closed during the motocross,” Mize said. “That’s why we referred to that event in the mailer distributed in early June before we had even opened construction bids, much less had a company under contract.”
Officials with the Washougal School District have concerns about the effect of the detours on school buses when classes resume on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
The district is planning to temporarily alter its routes because of the bridge closure.
“The district says this will mean incurring additional cost and picking up children earlier,” Mize said. “Every day the contractor doesn’t get to work in July could translate into an additional construction day in October, creating additional disruption for the school district.
“With any construction project, there always is the potential for unexpected circumstances and assorted problems,” he added. “By getting the project underway Monday, we reduce the potential for the project to run into lousy weather in October.”
In addition to a $755,627 contract, Conway Construction has a financial incentive to finish the project early. It is $2,500 a day, capped at $25,000.
A map of the area is at www.clark.wa.gov/publicworks/roads/documents/WashougalMX.pdf. For more information, call Mize at 397-6118, Ext. 4398.