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Story Drive Road Closed

posted on 12/9/21

Story Dr. Road Closure for Bridge Replacement

Bridge Replacement and subsequent road closure of Story Dr. between 94th Pl and 103rd Ave. will begin on Monday, December 13th, 2021.  This project is anticipated to take 3-4 months weather permitting.  This work will be winter work and may take longer than a bridge of this size/type that is constructed in the summer months. However, this bridge is one of the last remaining of its type in Marion County and the replacement of this structure is likely to be welcomed by the adjacent home and landowners in the vicinity.

The bridge was constructed in 1953 over English Creek as a 136’ structure in total length and the steel thru-truss design is often referred to as a “Pony Truss”.  It consists of two 30’ approach spans and a center Pony Truss span of 76’.  The bridge was load rated in the 1980’s due to its original design, which was not designed for the size of traffic load that were traveling area roadways at that tie and didn’t meet load rating standards.  As standards continued to change and the bridge further deteriorated it was later rated lower at 7 tons for nearly 31 years and most recently at a posted load rating of 3 ton. 

In 2016, there was not adequate funding for replacement of the bridge as local match funds were required to utilize Federal bridge funding or Highway Bridge Program funds (HBP).  The estimated cost of the match exceeded the total annual Road Department construction budget by 2x.  A public hearing at the Board of Supervisors meeting was held to gather input from area residents regarding the construction of an alternative route west of 94th Pl. from Story Dr. to G76.  The cost of this realignment was eligible for the HBP funds as an alternative to bridge replacement, yet the overall project cost was less than just the local match for the bridge replacement option.   After hearing concerns from residents, the direction of the Board of Supervisors was to close the bridge indefinitely at the time the bridge inspections yielded a closure recommendation and also not construct the alternative route.

In the last few year Federal HBP dollars have been swapped for Iowa Road Use Tax.  The Iowa Department of Transportation takes all of the Federal funding and swaps at 100% for Iowa Road Use Tax.  So, Counties and Cities can use the Road Use Tax dollars rather than Federal dollars for HBP eligible bridges without a local match and without the stipulations attached to Federal funds.  This has allowed Counties to get more out of each dollar of HBP money without the constraint of the local match, allowing larger projects to be completed that were otherwise challenging to fund. Additionally, in 2019 through 2021 additional Federal money in the amount of about 50% of the normal HBP allocation was available as a result of new legislation and was also swapped dollar for dollar.  This increase in funding and flexibility of funds allowed this project to be reincorporated into Marion County’s Five Year Construction Program. 

We are happy to report that this bridge was bid in November and the ~$850,000 bid amount was similar to estimates from 2016 for bridge replacement.  We look forward to completing this bridge and improving accessibility for area residents.  Please be patient with the contractors and our staff as this work will take a substantial amount of time to complete.  We understand the 6 mile detour is inconvenient, however, we are confident that the resulting bridge replacement will provide a very reliable, wider, higher load capacity, and more flood resilient bridge for years to come.

Thank you,

Tyler Christian, P.E.

Marion County Engineer