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Thread: Bridges across the river: how many is too many?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Utah
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    Bridges across the river: how many is too many?

    Hello, everyone; my town has a small but powerful river running through, and nearly all development has been on its north side so far. We have a bridge approximately at our western boundary and a new one in the middle of town about 3 miles upriver from it. THe others are small and don't really qualify as bridges. Now we have an applicant with access problems who would like to build a bridge that would bring the traffic through an old & very quiet neighborhood. In some ways, it is the best location, though there are other possibilities, but residents are extremely upset. Our capital facilities plan shows future bridges, but not in that location. THe developer has the easement for the bridge area from property owners on both sides. Here are my questions:
    1. How much discretion does the town have to say no to a bridge? If it were to consider denial, what should the criteria for making the decision be? I can imagine having bridges dotted all along the river, which flows right out of a national park and is of high recreational value, and it does seems like there should be some limitation there.
    2. How does the ultimate cost measure up to a longer road? It seems like a bridge would be a greater liability as far as maintenance and risk go, but I am not sure. Sometimes floods wash out bridges here, and we could certainly not afford to rebuild one at this point.
    3. Does the town have a duty to grant access this way if there is no alternative? The land to be developed is outlying, and will be costly for the town to service, with or without the bridge.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  2. #2

    Registered
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    Don't you have to approve the subdivision map, accept the public streets, and approve the overall design of the project? Traffic impacts on the existing neighborhood would have to be addressed and mitigated?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    You should, as BKM implies, require an impact assessment as a part of the subdivision approval process. Taking it a step further, a bridge is likely going to require an environmental impact study, which would require an evaluation of alternatives.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4

    Registered
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    First question: Does everything else about the project except the bridge make sense?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    We are only now seeing the concept plan. It does seem like a nice project, though I have not had the chance to study it thoroughly. The concept plan needs approval only from the planning commission before they can start on the preliminary plat. The only real black mark in my mind is its distance from existing services. But that land is within our boundaries, so I guess that should not be an obstacle. Yes, impacts would have to be mitigated, but its hard to figure out how to mitigate the loss of a neighborhood so quiet that you are almost more likely to see a horse or a toddler in the middle of the street than a car.

    The other thing that tests my brain about the bridge is it will open up a whole bunch of other land to development, so it is hard to guess how much traffic would end up going that way.

    Thank you for your help.

  6. #6

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    I would ask the developer to give you a model showing the traffic and other measurable impacts of the bridge based on opening up ALL of the land, not just this first project, and of the cost of improvements the city (and county?) would ultimately have to make. BEAR West in SLC could perform such an analysis and there are probably other choices there and in Las Vegas.

    As you have observed, mitigation is very difficult in circumstances like yours because the change is so radical. The project should at least pay its own way by providing adequate facilities. Beyond that, I would ask for the moon in terms of open space and other partially mitigating factors. I am now watching what happens when a small town doesn't back down. If the market is good, you will get what you want. Don't be shy about it.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis View post
    I would ask the developer to give you a model showing the traffic and other measurable impacts of the bridge based on opening up ALL of the land, not just this first project, and of the cost of improvements the city (and county?) would ultimately have to make.
    Why didn't we think of that?!


    Beyond that, I would ask for the moon in terms of open space and other partially mitigating factors. I am now watching what happens when a small town doesn't back down. If the market is good, you will get what you want. Don't be shy about it.
    That is very inspiring, thank you!

  8. #8
    > bridges across the river: how many is too many?

    See Portland!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    South Milwaukee
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    Does this impact navigability? The ACOE and your state natural resources body will have a say, I would think.

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