School bus drivers, teachers, students and parents will have one less route to reach Kennewick High School this fall, at least temporarily.
Work on the Dayton Street bridge over an irrigation canal near the high school is about three weeks behind schedule, site supervisor Doug Willms told the Herald.
That means the project won't be done until mid-September. Classes start Aug. 26.
School officials hadn't received word the project wouldn't finish before school starts but said its delay would be an inconvenience.
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"Basically, it will make for a lot of congestion," said Assistant Superintendent Ron Williamson. "People will have to be patient."
Workers began replacing the bridge in mid-June and were scheduled to finish by Aug. 25. City officials had planned the work for years as the bridge over the Columbia Irrigation District canal had structural problems.
Girders and other building materials arrived late, causing the delay, Willms said.
City spokeswoman Evelyn Lusignan said city officials are aware of the delay and are working with the contractor.
Dayton Street is one of a few downtown streets that cross the canal. It is a primary route for school buses, students and teachers, the main access for Mid-Columbia Libaries' Keewaydin Park branch and near a transportation hub for Ben Franklin Transit.
The district will have to come up with new busing arrangements if the bridge is closed when school begins, Williamson said, because buses typically cross the bridge to line up alongside the school on Dayton.
Drivers and students also will need to be more cautious, Williamson said.
The Dayton sidewalk was a common walking route during Kennewick High's open lunch hours. Students will now have to find alternate routes to get downtown.
Ben Franklin Transit already has been using alternate routes during the construction project.
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