Franklin County Commissioners approve new Birch Road bridge

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 4, 2014 

Birch Road Bridge

Franklin County commissioners gave approval Tuesday for the county public works department to start the process of replacing the Birch Road bridge. The aging wooden structure, built as part of the Columbia Basin Project. is about two tenths of a mile west of Taylor Flats Road.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Franklin County commissioners gave approval for the county public works department to start the process to replace a bridge northwest of Pasco.

The Birch Road bridge, located two tenths of a mile west of Taylor Flats Road, is an aging wooden structure built as part of the Columbia Basin Project, a network of irrigation canals made possible by the Grand Coulee Dam, said county engineer Matt Rasmussen. It will be replaced with a concrete box culvert.

"Most of those bridges are 50 or so years old," he said.

Tuesday's 2-0 vote, conducted without Commissioner Brad Peck, allows the public works department to begin survey work on the bridge.

The total project is budgeted at $224,000, which includes construction and engineering, Rasmussen said. It will have to be paid entirely with county money, since the federal government doesn't award grants for bridges shorter than 20 feet.

Construction likely will begin in the fall and require the bridge to be closed to traffic for two to three weeks, Rasmussen said.

The commissioners met Tuesday because they were not expected to be able to have a quorum today because of an out-of-town conference.

Also Tuesday:

w Commissioners approved hiring a temporary clerk in the sheriff's office to replace a worker on medical leave. Deputy Prosecutor Janet Taylor said the position will cost $9,402 for up to four months, though it won't have a fiscal impact because it is coming from two unfilled positions that are already budgeted.

The clerk is needed to fulfill public records requests, Taylor said.

"This person fulfills a critical function in the sheriff's department," she said.

w Commissioners approved a pay increase for deputy Superior Court Clerk Ruby Ann Ochoa. Commission Chairman Bob Koch said the raise will bring her bi-weekly salary to $2,265 from $1,957.

w Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543;; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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