A new bridge over an environmentally sensitive creek will help improve water quality and safety. The work to do so will take about five months and close part of Wardola Street at the Thompson School Creek crossing for that period.
Forty-year-old culverts currently in place support a causeway over the creek and are to be replaced with a bridge span. The culvert has become clogged and is sinking. This has caused captured water in the upper creek allowing invasive plant species to thrive. It also contributes to slow drainage. The work being undertaken will restore the stream bed to a more natural state which will also allow free flow of the creek.
Funded primarily from a Clean Water State Revolving Fund grant, the project will remove the culverts and restore travel over the creek with a 30-foot bridge. The creek’s natural shoreline will be rehabilitated and tidal flow will be restored. The new bridge is wider than the current causeway and will contribute to increased safety for motorists.
Thompson School Creek flows into Wilson Bay, which was the target site for a massive City environmental restoration project in 1999. The Wilson Bay Initiative led to efforts to clean up all of the New River. The project was the impetus for the creation of the Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center to tell the story of the river cleanup and to inspire future river stewards.
Thompson School Creek boardwalk, from Sturgeon City to Thompson School, will also be closed during the project as the crossing at Wardola Street will have to be reworked. Additionally, work will be done to improve flow around the project site.
The project is to begin January 6, 2020 and is expected to last through May. Wardola Street will be blocked near the Lighthouse in Christ Ministries to the east and the intersection with Loyola Drive to the west. Wardola provides an important connection between Bayshore Estates and the lower end of Court Street downtown. Traffic between the two points should consider using College Street, or other local streets to make the connection during this time.
The Buy American program with the project will require the use of American made steel for the bridge. The City’s Water Quality Division will be monitoring the project to minimize any environmental impacts.