While one Washington city councilman has come out in favor of resurrecting the controversial Camp Street bridge project, another one said this week that he wants to poll city residents on the issue.
Ward 1 Councilman Steve Sullentrup raised the issue during this week’s council meeting, proposing a survey “to see if the citizens want the Camp Street bridge put back in.”
He suggested including the survey in the next round of utility bills that will be mailed to residents.
There was no discussion after Sullentrup offered his proposal during the council discussion portion of the meeting.
His suggestion likely will come up for discussion and action at a future meeting.
Following his re-election victory in the April 3 municipal election, Ward 2 Councilman Mark Hidritch commented in an interview with The Missourian that he planned to make the Camp Street bridge a priority during his next term.
“I’d like to see it put into service for emergency personnel and the traffic flow for all of the citizens of Washington,” Hidritch said.
The bridge, if approved, would be built in Ward 2.
After months of lengthy debate, the council in May 2008 scuttled the project after spending almost $70,000 for engineering and design work, allocating funds in the city budget and awarding a construction contract.
The city was forced to pay the winning contractor more than $4,000 to get out of the contract.
Building a new bridge to replace the one destroyed decades ago was endorsed by city staff, the planning and zoning commission and police, fire and ambulance officials, but was opposed by a group of residents in the Camp Street neighborhood. It has been in the city’s comprehensive plan for years.
After the contract was awarded by resolution — with the mayor breaking a 3-3 tie — a group of property owners filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s action. The contractor also filed suit.
A heated debate over whether or not to rebuild the bridge raged for months. Many of the opponents along Camp Street, north of the creek, and adjoining streets feared that building the bridge would open up their neighborhood to traffic from the Wal-Mart SuperCenter that was approved several years earlier.
The contract that was awarded — and later rescinded — totaled $568,773.50 which was far below the engineer’s estimate of $770,000.
That amount included the cost of the bridge — $218,588 — along with Camp Street improvements south of the creek.
While the city eliminated the bridge, the street improvements were constructed later.