Iowa City Gilbert Street Bridge repair project underway

The Iowa City City Council will vote to accept a resolution to schedule a public hearing for the project on Jan. 24, which will officially begin the overall construction process.


Avi Lapchick

The Gilbert Street Bridge is seen on Jan. 23, 2023.

Isabelle Foland, News Reporter

The project to repair the Gilbert Street Bridge — which has significant damage — will begin Tuesday at the Iowa City City Council meeting to schedule hearings for the public’s input.

According to the city council’s meeting agenda, the 2019 Biennial Bridge Inspection Program found the bridge to have “advanced deterioration” on the surface and structural portions of the bridge.

The agenda did not state a specific cost for the project, but there is a total of $2.9 million in a Gilbert Street Replacement Project account.

“There is also significant cracking and spalling at the north bridge approach that currently requires frequent maintenance,” the agenda states. “Widespread minor damage and bank slump is noted in the channel and there is no traffic barrier separating pedestrians from vehicles.”

Following inspection, the Biennial Bridge Inspection Program recommended the bridge, which was built in 1972, be repaired significantly or fully replaced.

“This project generally includes the removal and replacement of the existing four-lane concrete bridge with a new continuous concrete slab bridge over Ralston Creek, designed to meet local and state guidelines for traffic and pedestrians, six-foot sidewalks on both sides, and aesthetic improvements to enhance the neighborhood and views of the creek,” it states.

RELATED: Iowa City receives planning grant for bridge improvements

There will also be several added measures to improve rainwater drainage and water mains in the area.

The deteriorated state of Gilbert Street Bridge follows a local and statewide trend as improvements for the Burlington Street Bridge have also been in the works.

As of 2021, Iowa ranks second in the nation for the percentage of structurally deficient bridges, with 18.9 percent of Iowa’s bridges being considered deficient. This is up from 2020, where Iowa ranked third in the nation.

At its upcoming meeting, the Iowa City City Council will vote on a resolution which will set a public hearing for the project on Feb. 7 to approve the project’s manual.

Following this, the project’s bid letting day is scheduled for March 21, and the council will meet on April 4 to decide what company to award the project’s contract to.

The repairs are projected to have a spring 2023 starting date.