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SHERIDAN — Sheridan can look forward to a new bridge on Lewis Street this fall, as work is underway to not only replace the dilapidated structure, but to use the opportunity to clean up a couple intersections and enhance the parks and pathways system.
The Lewis Street bridge project is a joint project of the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the city of Sheridan and will also involve renovations on Alger, Dow and Marion streets.
WYDOT Resident Engineer Jerry Buckley explained the existing bridge has to go because of several structural defaults.
“The deck is in poor condition,” he said, indicating the roadway over the bridge is cracked and chunks of concrete are coming off of the driving surface.
Buckley also indicated the curb height on the current bridge, which is 9-10 inches, is too tall.
Another major defect with the existing Lewis Street bridge is that bronze bearing plates underneath the bridge surface have migrated out of the way from the abutments.
“Now, the bridge is sitting on concrete in a lot of places, and it’s not good,” Buckley said, adding that while the bridge probably isn’t going to fall down tomorrow, it’s time for it to be replaced after more than 50 years of use.City of Sheridan officials have joined the project as an opportunity to update water and sewer systems in the area and create an extension of the walking path between Lewis Street and an existing pathway length that runs parallel to Big Goose Creek.
Reiman Corporation, of Cheyenne, was selected as the main contractor for the project. Project Manager Kurt Reiman said he’s hoping to get the foundation for the new bridge in place before spring runoff comes from the mountains.
“A big part of working in a river or over a river is that you want to work on a bridge foundation with a low water flow,” he said. “It’s important for us, as the contractor, to get in that river and put in tiers and columns.”
In addition to getting supporting columns for the new bridge in place, the first order of business for construction crews will be to realign Lewis Street slightly north, which will be achieved by cutting through a corner of Mill Park. The establishment of the new direction for the street will also include eliminating the triangulated intersection at Dow Street and replacing it with a “T” junction and converting Alger Street into a cul-de-sac.
“When we get done with south Lewis Street alignment, that will allow us to start constructing the grading and utilities to Alger and Dow streets,” Reiman said, referring to a published schedule that projects work will begin on the streets sometime in March.
When the portion of the streets downhill from the bridge are complete, crews will move up to Marion Street to again create a clean “T” intersection in place of the existing juncture of the streets, where Marion joins Lewis street at an angle.
Several enhancements in landscaping are planned for Mill Park at the completion of the project. While construction is ongoing, the park will serve as a topsoil staging area.
Reiman estimates Lewis and Marion streets north of the bridge will be closed to traffic during portions of June and July.
The old bridge will remain in place and be used as the detour route until the new bridge is complete, so motorists will be able to cross the Big Goose Creek at that location at all times while the project is underway.
Much of the roadwork on surrounding streets is expected to be done by this fall.
All portions of the project are expected to be complete by October 2015, depending on weather and other unforeseen impacts.
“We’re trying to keep traffic impact as minimal as possible,” Reiman said. “The big thing is to pay attention to traffic controls and slow down.”
Weekly public progress meetings will likely be held during construction at the Best Western Sheridan Center Tuesdays at 2 p.m. starting March 11. Updates will also be published via local media outlets and a weekly newsletter will be delivered to residents and businesses within the project area.