Fairchild Avenue Bridge construction takes backseat to railroad improvements

Sierra Guterba

It’s been a little over a year since construction began on the Crain and Fairchild Avenue bridge project in Kent, and there is two years left to go.

The construction of the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge has been started, but it is not being worked on currently because of other work that needs to be done on the A.B.C. railroad lines, which run parallel with Water Street.

Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said he has heard people express frustration as to why no work on the bridge is being done right now.

Bowling said the focus at this time is the railroad lines, which have to be raised and retaining walls have to be built in between the four lines. The railroad tracks can only be worked on for three or four months of the year because of weather as well as grain deliveries that need to be made to the Star of the West Milling Company.

He also added that the city is working on the project in phases to reduce the impact on people.

The project is currently in phase two of four, with the construction on the railroad and pavement repairs on surrounding streets.

Bowling said by next month, the work on the railroad will stop and work will begin on Water Street.

He said he is asking citizens to be patient with the work that is being done downtown.

“There’s a lot of work going on that doesn’t seem to be getting done at the same time,” Bowling said. “Due to the railroad issues and when we can work on the railroad we cant just throw more people at it and get the job done quicker.”