MORRIS – City officials are looking into possibly replacing the city of Morris’ oldest bridge – the Goold Park Drive bridge.
The bridge was constructed in 1929, Mayor Richard Kopczick said Wednesday. Because of its age, it is not up to modern standards when it comes to water flow beneath it, and this causes issues when the city receives heavy rains that cause flooding like it did this summer.
“It’s restrictive on flood waters,” he said. “The bridge opening on the creek backs water upstream when it floods. [It will be upgraded to] the width of today’s standards and raised to meet the 100-year flood levels.”
The project is in the very preliminary stages. The Street and Alley Committee on Tuesday night directed its engineering firm, Chamlin & Associates, to obtain cost estimates for the project.
“We are trying to come up with numbers for if and when so we can plan for it,” Alderman Brian Feeney, chairman of the Street and Alley Committee, said Wednesday.
The entire project would include a new bridge, straightening out the road and adding curb, gutter and sidewalk from Fulton Street to West Avenue. In addition, going south on to Nettle Street, curb and gutter will be tied in on the north portion of Nettle, Kopczick said.
Feeney said at the earliest, the project would be started in 2015, but 2016 is more likely.
The project will be funded by the city, county and state, he said. But the city’s portion would be highest because it will include the curb and gutter work along the other streets.
The city looked at replacing the bridge more than a decade ago, Feeney said, but at that time the neighborhood residents protested against it because of aesthetics. They were not happy the street was going to be straightened out.
But he said the problems with the flooding forced the city to revisit the idea. He said he believes between the flooding issues and the neighborhood residents changing through the years, the project may not receive the objections it did before.
In other business, the Street and Alley Committee also discussed the Pilot Travel Centers’ project looking.
Pilot is planning a new gas station in Morris, north of Interstate 80. It will be on the east side of Route 47 and on the south side of Mall Road, across from Costco.
As part of the project, Pilot has to construct Mall Road from the Route 47 intersection on and it was discovered that when the state widened Route 47 last, it was off and the curbing of the intersection is about seven feet to the south of where it should be.
This means the control box and the location of the base of the traffic light signals are all off, Kopczick said.
Fixing the state’s mistake would be costly and time consuming so to accommodate it, Pilot is going to taper the new road to the north some so as Mall Road continues it will align again, Kopczick said.
Feeney said this will result in some of the parkway between the street and sidewalk being cut out, but the development of the project will not be affected.
City officials said Pilot wants to get started on the project in March. A call to a Pilot representative was not returned by press time.
The committee asked Pilot’s engineering firm, Spaceco Inc., to move forward with updating this plan.