|Plans for the new U-District bridge.|
According to the Spokesman-Review, City Council is scheduled to vote on the contract proposal next Monday. Garco’s bid of $9,499,047 exceeds an engineer’s estimate of total construction costs by a little less than 1 percent, but it was the lowest of the seven firms that provided quotes for the project.
Proponents of the bridge say it will provide safe access for students and others to a new medical school in the district, which has seen more than $740 million in investment since 2004. Critics though say the bridge’s price tag is too high and many members of the public won’t use it.
City Council President Ben Stuckart pushed back on claims the project was too costly, saying the bridge would more than make up its price tag in spurring economic development nearby.
Funds for the project come mostly from an $8.8 million allotment by the Washington Legislature in 2015. About $3.1 million will come from receipts of existing sales and property taxes within the University District’s public development authority, created by the City Council in 2012 to channel grant money and tax revenue toward the project.
Construction on the bridge is expected to start in March, with completion scheduled for fall 2018.