Kennewick's bridge on Dayton Street needs replacing.
City officials have lined up $454,400 in Federal Highway Bridge Program money to pay for a new bridge, and work is likely to begin during the winter of 2012, said city engineer Dan Kaufman.
The bridge, which crosses a Columbia Irrigation District canal, has developed structural problems, Kaufman said.
The bridge's deficiencies first were noted four years ago during a regular inspection, but it didn't become a candidate for rehabilitation or replacement until recently, Kaufman noted.
"Now it is posted for load limits. Under certain conditions, the transit buses and school buses would not be allowed, but only if they are fully loaded," Kaufman said.
The load limit does affect the city's largest fire engines, however. They take routes that avoid the bridge.
Kaufman said the bridge work has to be delayed because it can't be done when there is water in the canal, so construction must be scheduled in winter months, even though it will be inconvenient for the schools' transportation program.
Kaufman said paperwork that needs to be processed can't be completed for this coming winter, so the project has to wait until late in 2012.
The total estimated cost for replacing the bridge and about 450 feet of Dayton Street is about $568,000, with Kennewick paying about $113,000.
The bridge is on a primary access route for Kennewick High School and is on a main route for Ben Franklin Transit, which has a transfer station just south of the bridge.
Kaufman said the transit buses don't pose a problem because most of the structural weak spots are on the west side of Dayton Street, which is farthest from the transfer station and transit bus travel lane.
Also, there is no issue with school buses crossing the bridge, he said.