Public Works projects light up new year

Bridge lighting, a Grays Harbor PUD easement for a gate, a new street sweeper, and two flood mitigation projects that cost more than $1 million came up at the special end of the year Aberdeen City Council meeting Monday night.

It looks as though there will finally be light on the Chehalis River Bridge come late winter or spring.

Aberdeen Public Works Director Malcolm Bowie told The Daily World last week that purchase and installation of the LED rope-like lights for the pedestrian areas along the bridge will cost about $400,000 and will be funded by a grant. Aberdeen’s contribution will come through labor, he said.

Tim Alstrom, chairman of the Aberdeen City Council’s Public Works Committee told the council on Monday night that “Department of Natural Resources (permission) has been nailed down.” The DNR has purview over some aspects of the bridge.

The lights could help make the bridge more safe, Mayor Bill Simpson said, remembering that a wallet was stolen at knifepoint at the base of the bridge recently.

Long a champion of lighting for the bridge, Council President Kathi Hoder, was ecstatic at the possibility.

In an email sent to The Daily World last Friday, Hoder wrote “I am extremely excited to hear that lights may soon grace our Chehalis River bridge. I’d love to plan a city gathering for a ‘Light the Bridge’ ceremony since we’ve so patiently waited for a little light in our community.”

In other developments at Monday night’s City Council meeting, there was a kerfuffle over permission for the Grays Harbor PUD to install a gate for an access easement on city property atop Think of Me Hill. Believing the easement to be on his property, Councilmember Jim Cook of Ward 1 threatened to sue, or “cut it (the gate) out of there.” Bowie showed him the precise location. Cook realized his error and voted aye, along with nine other council members present.

Then the council approved the purchase of a new street sweeper at a discount for the city. The RAVO 5 sweeper became available as a demo for 25 percent less that a new one sells for, at $190,000. The purchase is provided for in the 2014 budget. Public Works will now sell the old street sweeper to Raymond for $12,000. The demo “comes with training for operators and service personnel as well as a two-year, 2000-hour warranty,” the committee report says.

Finally, the council voted to allow the city to enter into interlocal agreements with the state Office of Financial Management regarding two Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority grants to help mitigate flooding on the western and eastern banks of the Wishkah River.

Aberdeen will receive $670,000 to facilitate design and construction of a 2,800 foot long dike along the Wishkah’s western bank, “adjacent to Market Street,” the agreement says. The $410,000 grant is to finalize documents and coordinate construction of a dike and various road improvements along the eastern bank and along the “trail behind Burger King.”

Alstrom praised Bowie, who is coming up on his one-year anniversary with the city, as accessible and always willing to answer questions. Bowie replaced longtime director Larry Bledsoe. Alstrom joked though they’d all probably still be calling Bowie “the new guy in five or six years”, he said. “We have a great working relationship.”

Erin Hart, 360-537-3932,, Twitter, @DW_Erin.


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