Video: City Council agrees to try a third time for Harrison St. bridge grant

The Guthrie city council is hoping the third time is the charm in landing a grant to fix the Harrison St. bridge and address storm water drainage in the downtown area.


In June 2017, part of Harrison Ave. (in front of Jelsma Stadium) was closed off following a bridge inspection. Related articlePortion of downtown road closed down due to inadequate underground bridge

The City applied for the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) Surface Transportation Block Grant in 2017 and 2018, but were denied both times. The grant would cover 90 percent of the construction cost.

After the denials, City leaders were ready to go out and solicit bids to replace the Harrison St. bridge and fund the project with 100 percent of local money. However, the council agreed (7-0 vote) to put that on hold in hopes of landing the same grant.

City Manager Leroy Alsup said application process will begin in January and the awards received sometime in March or April.

The estimated time of construction is five months. City leaders will look to work around the Guthrie High School football season (August through November) and graduation service (May).

In the 1930’s, the railroad system was taken out and Jelsma Stadium was constructed, but the Harrison Ave. bridge was not removed. Instead, the street was widened and the bridge was paved over. The bridge does not serve a purpose.

To correct the issue, the bridge would be removed, a retaining wall would be built against the interior of the sandstone wall of Jelsma Stadium and filled in with flowable fill (a self-compacting low strength material).

Before the council vote, City leaders were preparing to use 100 percent of local money to repair the bridge at $917,645.68. To add storm water improvements near the bridge on Harrison St. would have added an additional $75,720.66. To extend the storm water drainage improvements to Division St. would be an additional $145,994.97. A third alternate plan would have added new pavement on Harrison St., sidewalks and period street lighting at a cost of $598,075.08.

Stormwater Drainage Issues

With the grant, City officials are hoping to address the water drainage in downtown.

One of the primary downtown stormwater drainage systems, built in the early 1900’s, runs from the Masonic Temple to Wentz St. and from Division St. to Wentz St. The collected water then runs under Jelsma Stadium, Squires Field, Guthrie Fire Department and into Snake Creek.

During a big rain event, the capacity of the existing system is not adequate and often times leads to localize flooding on roadways, inside downtown buildings and onto Jelsma Stadium.

The drainage improvements would include a second primary line on Wentz St. from Cleveland Ave. to Harrison Ave. to help increase the capacity. Also, the installation of inlets on Oklahoma Ave. and Harrison Ave.

The goal is to get the storm water out of the downtown area quicker.

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