City plans wintertime demolition of Charley Western Trail Bridge

CHARLES CITY — City leaders are working toward demolishing the crumbling Charley Western Trail Bridge this winter, while the wood turtles are hibernating. Corresponding repairs and improvements to the First Avenue bridge would be done in the summer after school is out for the summer.

The City Council will discuss these projects Monday, Dec. 11, at its planning session that begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

Below it the full text of the city administrator’s memo to the council on the topic:

“We continue to work with the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in obtaining a permit to work in the Cedar River to demolish the Charley Western Trail bridge. The Cedar River is considered part of the ‘waters of the U.S. and is under the jurisdiction of the Corps.

“As we have discussed previously, the trail bridge is considered historically significant and the Cedar River at this location has been determined a wood turtle habitat. The Council approved a memorandum of agreement between the City, Corp, and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to document the historic preservation of the bridge.

“EOR Iowa was retained to prepare the report and photographs required by SHPO. A draft copy of the report has been submitted to SHPO for review and approval. Stantec was retained to prepare a wood turtle avoidance plan that the Corps requires as part of the demolition plan. Stantec biologists will also make site visits during the demolition work to monitor the effectiveness of the avoidance plan.

“In February, the Council approved a professional services agreement with Calhoun Burns and Associates for rehabilitation work on the First Avenue bridge over the Charley Western Trail. The deck of the 50 year old bridge has been patched and is starting to delaminate. In order to seal the surface and keep water out of the concrete bridge deck, the entire surface requires removal of delaminated surface, milling and resurfacing to create a sound surface. The project will also include placement of a traffic barrier rail to separate the pedestrians from the roadway traffic and removal of the existing handrail and placement of chain link fencing on the outside edge of the bridge’s sidewalk section.

“Calhoun Burns is finishing the construction and bidding documents, and we can now establish hearing and letting dates for both projects. We have prepared the following schedule for the lettings and Council action items:

  • January 2, 2018 – Council to approve the preliminary plans and set the letting and hearing dates for both projects
  • January 30, 2018 – Accept bids for both projects
  • February 5, 2018 – Council will hold public hearings, approve final plans and award the bids for both projects
  • February 20, 2018 – Council will approve the contracts and bonds for both projects

“The work on the trail bridge demolition will begin as soon as possible so most of the work can take place in late winter while the wood turtle is still hibernating. Work on the First Avenue bridge will not occur until this summer. First Avenue is a major route to the High and Middle Schools, and we will wait until school is no longer in session before closing the street.”