The cost of repairing Story City’s historic Swinging Bridge will be approximately $127,000 after the iconic landmark was damaged by huge chunks of ice during flooding of the Skunk River in mid-March.
“We are still in the process of getting a final cost on the repair and how much insurance will cover,” said Mayor Mike Jensen. “We had an engineering firm do an inspection of the entire bridge for damage and make a recommendation on the cost to repair it.”
The engineers recommended that the wood handrail, deck and support beams be replaced, Jensen said. Also, they recommended replacing all but two of the long, steel rods that connect the entire bridge to the overhead, steel support cables.
The ice also shredded and cut the lighting on the lower portion of the Swinging Bridge. That lighting will need to be replaced.
There are also lights strung along the overhead support cables, and, although those lights weren’t damaged in the flood, that wiring has to be removed and replaced as the steel hanger rods are replaced.
Jensen said there is also some masonry work that needs to be completed prior to the replacement of the damaged wood and steel portions of the bridge. The ice damaged some of the stones, which will need to be replaced. Also, some masonry work on the abutments will help waterproof the joints and avoid future damage due to freezing and thawing.
The cost of the masonry work was not included in the engineers’ estimated cost of $127,000.
The damage to the bridge occurred over the course of two days of flooding in March as large, thick pieces of ice hit the historic structure.
The 71-foot suspension footbridge was built in 1936 and was one of the New Deal projects constructed under Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). The structure leads pedestrians to Story City’s South Park.
The bridge is insured and the city is submitting a claim for the damage. It is not yet known how much money the city will receive from the insurance company.
“We definitely want to get it fixed,” Jensen said at the time of the damage. “It’s an important item for our community. It’s a special landmark for Story City.”