Following a 15-month emergency closure, the 68th Street bridge over the Arizona Canal reopened to traffic Wednesday. The closure began in late 2017, when an unexpected degree of deterioration was discovered during a routine inspection. Additional analysis concluded that the entire bridge needed to be torn down and replaced.
The most cost-effective way to replace the bridge was to demolish and rebuild the it during a canal dry-up, which occurs once every seven years. With only 11 months until the next dry-up, the project team worked quickly to design the new structure, line up materials and coordinate with five utility companies to relocate utility lines from the bridge itself and surrounding project area.
Demolition and replacement of the main bridge structure took place in January and February. Crews worked around the clock to accomplish this feat in only 28 days, and most importantly, in time for Salt River Project to make vital water deliveries to six downstream water treatment plants and more than 1,500 agricultural customers.
The following two months included time for the new bridge structure to cure, completion of the bridge approaches, sewer-line upgrades and improvements to the surrounding bicycle and pedestrian paths.
All bridges in Scottsdale’s street network are inspected every two years to ensure they are safe.
The City Council approved $4.56 million to pay for the repairs in October 2018. The funds came primarily from deferring other planned projects and savings from recently completed projects.