Hermiston considers a new bridge

By on Friday, August 20th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

HERMISTON – The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners approved spending $50,000 to help the city of Hermiston pay for a study by Anderson Perry about a potential bridge over the Umatilla River. The Hermiston City Council will vote on the same proposal at its meeting Monday.

Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said that having another bridge over the river has long been a part of the city’s plan for the future. Two sites have been mentioned and Morgan said an engineering feasibility study could help decide which location would be the best.

“The first is extending Punkin Center Road on the north end of Hermiston’s urban growth boundary,” he said. “The other would be to extend Elm Avenue off to the west.”

Morgan said there are potential problems with either site. The city of Umatilla has also been asked to chip in $30,000 for the study. Morgan said growth there is already causing some traffic concerns that an additional bridge could alleviate.

The preliminary engineering analysis will help the city determine which of the two locations would be best. It will also provide the basis for the city to seek federal and state grants to fund the bridge, which could cost as much as $30 million.

“This is going to be a long-term project,” he said. “If we were seeing new traffic over the Umatilla River 10 years from now, in 2031, I think that would be a successful effort. We need to make sure that we’re starting off with a solid foundation of exactly what we’re talking about and where we’re going from there.”