Grant to cover the cost of building new bridge in Jenkins Creek Park

The bridge at Jenkins Creek Park crumpled under the weight of a storm in December 2010. Covington recently received a grant to replace it.  - Photo courtesy of the city of Covington
The bridge at Jenkins Creek Park crumpled under the weight of a storm in December 2010. Covington recently received a grant to replace it.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the city of Covington

Nearly three years after a storm which dumped record amounts of rain on the region washed out the bridge in Jenkins Creek Park in Covington, the city received grant funding to pay to replace the span.

The bridge was originally built in 1990 when the park was owned by King County. Covington received the park from the county in November 2002.

Because the bridge was part of a walking transportation corridor heavily used by residents of the Timberlane neighborhood to get to Covington’s downtown core as well as children to get to school, it is a victory the city was awarded a $418,000 federal community development block grant to cover the cost of building a new bridge.

“Basically what that does is re-establishes the bridge crossing there at Jenkins Creek,” said Don Vondran, Covington’s public works director. “It also creates an ADA accessible route all the way through the park from the west side across the bridge through the park to the east side of the bridge in the vicinity of Jenkins Creek Elementary.”

Covington staff received a letter Nov. 12 that it received the grant in order to make it possible for those who rely on the bridge crossing such as children and the elderly to get to school as well as into the downtown core.

The bridge was built out of timber boards and logs anchored by cement pads on either side of the creek. Parks and recreation staff planned to put the bridge through a stress test in December 2010 to determine if it was safe for pedestrian crossing, Scott Thomas, the city’s parks and recreation director told the Reporter then. There was discussion of reinforcing the bridge at that time. Then a real-world stress test in the form of a heavy winter rain storm Dec. 11, 2010 pounded the bridge. The resulting flooding was more than the bridge could bear.

What remained of the span was removed as quickly as possible because it was unsafe to use, but, in the first few days after the storm the bridge was crossed by children on their way to school.

One of the conditions of the grant, Vondran explained, is that the city needs to demonstrate it benefits low to moderate income households.

Next up is a survey going out to residents in the surrounding area of Jenkins Creek Park, Vondran said, which will then go to the King County Community Services Division. The grant money is distributed by the county. Vondran said it is important that residents fill out the survey and their responses will be forwarded to the city without personal information about respondents.

“Once that is done and we get that information back, then we would begin the design process, selecting a consultant to design the project, going through the environmental review since it is impacting streams and buffering wetlands along that area then going into construction,” Vondran said.

“Design and environmental (review) will probably occur the majority of next year and construction will be late next year and likely into 2015.”

Vondran said he would envision parks and recreation department staff would be quite involved in the design process of the bridge, how it would look and so on, and that public works would administer construction of the project. This is similar to how the two departments worked together, he said, on the design and construction of Covington Community Park.

The big news, though, is the fact the city was awarded the grant money.

“We applied for a Safe Routes to School Grant and actually did pretty well on it and we almost made it to the cut line,” Vondran said. “They talked about allocating more funds to get it there, we just didn’t quite make it. They really liked the project but they just ran out of funds. In the meantime we applied for this grant and this one has worked out.”


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