BRIDGE CLOSURE: People Get Ready

Posted on: 8:35 pm, March 24, 2013, by

At 9:00 Monday morning the bridge at 63rd Street and Grand Avenue will close.

The 100-year-old bridge is falling apart and is too old to be repaired, and a full replacement is in order.

Traffic’s crossed the Grand Avenue bridge for a century.  Drivers used it to get to work, get something to eat or shop but Monday it will all stop for seven months.

“Pretty much everyone who lives in this area is aware of the closing so we`re just going to have to figure it out, there is nothing we can do about it,” says Colleen Torgerson.

Val Lanes hopes the closure doesn’t cut back on business.  However, they’re fortunate because customers use Ashworth or Railroad to get there.

Others are not as lucky.

“This restaurant is going to lose a lot of money, and they`re already slow, and with this construction it`s going to really hurt them, bad,” says Viva La Bamba customer Bernard Oritz.

Ortiz worries that since the restaurant doesn’t have as many easy alternatives, customers won’t take the time to find the back ways there.

“Now I got to figure out how to get to the restaurant, they`re telling me there is another way through some of the streets in the back, so I got to find a way, use my GPS , to get to my favorite restaurant,” says Ortiz.

Back up Grand Avenue, or underneath it, a group of friends spent the day toasting tributes to the bridge.

“We thought we`d come down here and toast the old girl one last time,” says Mark Cooper of Des Moines.

The bridge carried them through a lifetime of memories.

“I drove over this bridge on the way to my wedding; new babies came home from the hospital over this bridge,” says Mark Berte.

It’s a time for a final few laughs about the past before their bridge is history.

“Good bye old bridge, I’m sure you`ve got a lot of stories to tell, we`ve got a lot of fond memories of you, and we`re going to miss you at least for the next eight months, hopefully the one that comes behind you does as good of a job as you did, cheers,” says Berte in his toast.

The construction project will cost $3.3 million dollars.  The new bridge will be longer with five traffic lanes and sidewalks on both sides. Detour signs will be up to direct drivers where to go.