- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines officials say they favor spending extra money so the replacement of a downtown bridge will match the arched appearance of other nearby bridges.

The mayor and council members considered options Monday for the replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge and favored a $7.9 million proposal for a bridge with panels that would resemble arches, according to The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1swkvCN). That way, the bridge would match the appearance of the three other arched bridges that cross the Des Moines River downtown.

Two options without arches would cost $6 million and $6.6 million. An option for a bridge supported by arches would cost $32 million.

“I love it,” council member Christine Hensley said of the $7.9 million design. “I think we need to retain some of the historically significant features without an obscene price tag.”

Council member Skip Moore agreed, saying the extra money was worth preserving the arched appearance of the bridge.

“It’s part of the theme of Des Moines,” he said.

Engineers have determined the 98-year-old Grand Avenue Bridge has significant structural problems that would be more expensive to repair than to replace the span. Construction is expected to begin in 2016 and will take about a year.

The council is scheduled to vote April 21 on a bridge design.

The bridge is among seven that city officials hope to repair or replace using funding from a federal program. Among them are the three other arched bridges over the Des Moines River, three downtown pedestrian bridges and a railroad bridge.

The federal grants are competitive. If Des Moines isn’t awarded the federal grants, it still will proceed with the Grand Avenue Bridge construction but would have to delay work on the other downtown bridges.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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