River Hills faces ballooning costs for Range Line Road bridge fix

March 21, 2012

River Hills officials will go to Milwaukee County and ask for more money to rehabilitate the Range Line Road bridge after learning about higher than anticipated costs at its Village Board meeting tonight.

River Hills Village Engineer Mustafa Emir presented a sobering estimate of escalating costs for the rehabilitation of the Range Line Road bridge with construction costs to repair the bridge estimated at $173,000 in 2003. Since then, a series of contract amendments and changes to the bridge design have ballooned the estimate to $500,000 for a concrete bridge or to $870,000 for a bridge covered with stone, similar to its current appearance.

The plain concrete bridge has not been acceptable to trustees in past years. In May 2010 they asked Mike Carpenter of Westbrook Associates, the design engineering firm, to talk with the Department of Transportation on alternate plans that would incorporate stone into the design. In December 2010 then Village Manager Tom Tollaksen signed a third amendment to the original contract for the bridge that provided for natural stone on the bridge. By that point in time, the bridge had taken on historic significance in the view of the Department of Transportation and its rehabilitation became more expensive.

The village has a federal grant of up to $190,400 awarded in 2004. The community must pay a 20 percent share of the bridge cost, which would bring its budget up to $238,000 for the entire project.

Emir suggested the board ask Milwaukee County for more funding. The original grant is good for only 10 years, so if additional funding is not available, Emir said the Village Board could consider other options, such as applying for another grant in the 2015-2018 cycle.

Emir said that the 80/20 federal/village split would be in effect for the more expensive rehabilitation.

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