CHELAN — Most Chelan residents favor adding a pedestrian handrail to the Woodin Avenue Bridge instead of widening the imporant road, a survey says.
About 70 perent of surveys returned to the city supported the rail on the narrow bridge, the town’s main entry from the south and a safety concern, city officials say.
The survey, sent in utility bills to all city residents, asked whether the city should move forward with a $2.5 million bridge widening project, or spend roughly $750,000 to refurbish the bridge and put in a handrail to separate the sidewalk from traffic.
City Administrator Paul Schmidt presented results of the survey to the city council Thursday night.
He said of 1,800 surveys sent to residents, 422 were returned by Monday’s deadline.
Of those 298, or 70 percent, opted for the cheaper, handrail option, he said.
But the survey didn’t say whether residents picked it because it’s the cheaper option, or just didn’t want to see the bridge widened, he said.
Schmidt said about 20 percent of those responding wanted to widen the bridge, and the other 10 percent either wanted to do nothing, or had other proposals — such as converting the bridge to a one-way street.
The council decided the issue needs more investigation, and asked the city staff to look into all its options.
The city had already planned to widen the bridge using state Public Works Trust Fund money, but those funds were cut by the state Legislature earlier this year.
Schmidt said by the time a handrail option is examined, designed and permitted, those funds may again be available.
“Without any kind of firm dollar amount (on the handrail option), we need to research it a little more” before the council can make a final decision, he said.