Excel! Committee members, city council members and other residents viewed some initial concepts for the redesign of the Central Avenue Bridge at an open house on Monday at the Estherville Chamber Office.
In April the city council had contracted with Bolton and Menk, Inc., of Spencer develop designs to improve the aesthetics of the bridge.
At Monday's meeting, representatives Jim Harbaugh and Sam Kessel from the engineering firm presented concepts to the attendees. The purpose was to receive feedback on which design elements best fit with the town and community as the elements could be mixed.
Concept 1—Concept 1 replaces both sides of the bridge with 10-foot sidewalks and new pedestrian fence, in place of the chain link, that integrates the wave pattern into the fence. Both concrete barriers are removed and replaced with a new concrete barrier that has a formliner on the sidewalk side. On top of the concrete barrier is a modified metal crash rail that has a pedestrian scale top. The lights are a decorative option of fixture with an 8-foot arm and two banners on each pole. The gateway column would be the larger 4-by-10-foot column that incorporates the geometric forms and rough limestone. With the widening of the bridge sidewalks we also put a cost into widening the street sidewalks to 10 feet from West First Street to East First Street.
Three concepts were presented at the meeting. (See at right.)
Some of the key elements discussed include:
n What kind of overhead light best complemented or matche what the city has done in other places-specifically downtown. Attendees also discused the light pole decor.
n Whether or not the side walk on both the north and south sides of the bridge should be widened or just one side.
n What types of fencing should be on the river side. One proposal was to have similar fencing to what is now at Lincoln Park. A couple other designs featured a patern in the fence.
n The types of gateway columns.
n What type of barrier rail should be on the street side.
Community members provided input on which elements of the bridge design they liked to Harbaugh and Kessel.
The design drawings will be refined based on public comment and the final schematic plans will be developed along with a cost estimate and a construction phasing plan for various elements of the bridge.
The engineering firm will make a presentation at the July 15 city council meeting.
Estherville city administrator Penny Clayton said there is no firm timeline for these improvements. While Excel! funds are expected to assist with the project, the city will likely have to seek other sources of funding.