City holds public meeting to discuss Connie’s bridge

Andrea Justice/Arizona Silver Belt A below look at the current Upper Pinal Creek (Connie’s) Bridge.

During a public meeting held on July 23, City of Globe Engineer and Public Works Director Jerry Barnes, along with Rick Powers of Rick Powers consulting and Matt Truitt from EPS, asked for public comments about the future replacement of the 100-year-old Upper Pinal Creek, “Connie’s Bridge.”

“We’ve been working on this project for approximately six years,” stated Rick Powers. “We started off by looking at all of the City’s deficient bridges. There was a total of seven of those. We compiled a report looking at the structural sufficiency ratings of those bridges and whether or not those bridges qualify for replacement.” Connie’s bridge had one of the lowest sufficiency ratings and made it eligible for replacement. “It is functionally obsolete, meaning it doesn’t meet the standards for width or some of the drainage requirements for passing flows,” said Powers. After a thorough analysis, the City found that while they could just repair the existing bridge it would cost the same amount to replace it. “It’s just like a car, when it gets to a certain point, it is more economical to replace it than to fix it.”

Jerry Barnes added that if they did nothing with the bridge structurally, the City would be forced to close it. “Closing the bridge is not an option so we chased the money for it.”

After perusing state money, the City was able to secure $2.8 million for this project. “Our intent is to get local contractors interested in working on it,” said Powers. “We will not compromise on the environment, safety, or the budget when it comes to this project.”

Barnes added that while it seems like a lot of money, it really isn’t when replacing a bridge of this size.

The City is currently presenting a concept for this project and is still in the scoping phase asking for public and stakeholder involvement before moving into the design phase. “We are hoping to be in the design phase by the end of August and September after receiving the City’s approval,” said Powers. “We hope to be in the construction phase in late spring and early summer 2021. It will be a year before we actually start turning dirt.”

After considering several bridge crossing locations, the City is looking at running the bridge from Hill Street to Jesse Hayes. The draft concept is looking to improve direct traffic onto Jesse Hayes Road and avoid utility and railroad bridge. The idea is to improve intersection visibility by creating a more conventional intersection geometry at this crossing. A typical 90 degree intersection with great visibility for all approaches would be a finalizing goal for this very large project.

Bridge aesthetics were also discussed including the structure type and the bridge railings. The bridge will follow a general theme whether railroad themed or mining. The City is open for input regarding the featured aesthetics, color pallet, and surface treatments.

“This is a monument for the City of Globe for the next 100 years,” said Barnes.

Members of the public were concerned about the existing flood plan and if the design would be better or worse than the old bridge. Matt Truitt from EPS stated that the existing Connie’s Bridge functions but it struggles to allow the volume of water you might see in a 10 year storm event. There is a large number of piers within the wash itself and they are not all perpendicular to the flow of flood waters. There is a tendency to collect debris from the surrounding areas. The concept bridge will have a better performance in this type of storm event.

Other concerns were voiced about how parking will be handled at Connie’s store. Barnes stated that they would be preserving the existing parking patterns that are present and that one of the improvements will be that exiting Ruiz Canyon will be a little easier because vehicles will no longer have to merge into the higher traffic coming from the canyon. The existing Connie’s bridge will be closed.

Ruiz family wants to know how the parking will be handled at Connie’s

Property owner, Steve Stratton brought up a good point that all of the Cottonwoods along Pinal Creek Corridor are at the end of their life cycle and will probably end up in the creek unless the City removes them. Barnes stated that they had not considered that and they will look into the trees further when they get to the design phase of this project.

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