Crews close bridge to begin renovation on 1300 South viaduct

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SALT LAKE CITY - Engineers are starting construction on the viaduct on 1300 South.

Officials said construction is expected to last about six months.

City officials said the new structure will allow for smoother traffic flow over the railroad tracks between 500 and 700 West.

The viaduct is a critical corridor for traffic between the east and west sides of Salt Lake City.

Jay Ingleby, First Vice Chair for the Glendale Community Council, said residents have expressed concern over the bridge.

"People say to me, when they drive over it now, they say, 'I'm afraid it's gonna collapse now,’” he said.

City engineers said structures tend to deteriorate faster in seasonal regions like Utah because of extreme temperature change, weathering and the chemicals used to melt ice in the winter.

Paul Dowler, a project manager for Salt Lake City Engineering, said the viaduct’s days are numbered.

"This bridge was built back in the '70s, so it is time to replace it; it has basically gotten to the end of its design life,” he said. “So, by rehabilitating and rebuilding the portions that are deteriorating, we will get another 30 to 40 plus years, because the concrete has gotten better, the rebar has gotten better."

But some community members have expressed concerns about the project.

Some reisdents said they don’t want to see road damage in their part of town.

"You get these heavy trucks and they're 'pound, pound, pound,' going around,” Ingleby explained. “The weight of the trucks and the trailers have an effect on our road. Next thing you know, we have got road cracking, and it is peeling and stuff like that. Then we gotta worry about getting our road repaired after.”

Bridge access will be completely shut down throughout several phases of the project but the city is designing alternate routes and says it will keep construction disturbance to a minimum.

“Most of the really noisy vibrations and construction work you might be used to will be done during the day and at night they are going to try to minimize that kind of work where it's really loud and noisy and try to keep the lights down as much as possible,” Dowler said.

There are several schools and libraries near the construction zone and community members said they are concerned about keeping kids safe.

"You get a truck going 30 miles an hour, especially with two trailers behind it, it takes quite a bit of room to stop that, and if you have kids coming out of school, and they run out in front of one of these trucks, I don't want to see the consequences of that,” Ingleby said.

Ingleby said the city has agreed to contact schools near the construction zone to remind students to use crosswalks and steer clear of danger.

He said that ultimately the end result will be worth the wait.

"It is something you have to put up with for a little while, but when it is done, it is going to be a lot nicer,” Ingleby said.

MORE: Click here for complete details on the project