SPOKANE – A team of engineers from Seattle dove into water at Riverfront Park in late July to perform inspections of three pedestrian bridges.
The City of Spokane called on Echelon Engineering to inspect the Clock Tower, King Cole and Don Kardong bridges. The engineers were asked to provide data on the bridges’ capacity and condition. The city’s own inspection trucks are used to inspect vehicular bridges, but the trucks don’t fit under the pedestrian bridges and, therefore, there are portions underwater that the city cannot access in its inspections every two years.
Diver Erling Vegsund with Echelon Engineering has inspected structures all across the country, up and down the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. He said the Spokane pedestrian bridges are a much smaller-scale job than he typically completes.
“It’s rare that we do something like this, although we have done several park department structures in the greater Seattle area within the last several years,” Vegsund said. “Most of our work is heavier loading: piers, wharfs, highway bridges. But the same problems can occur on these smaller bridges, too.”
Vegsund said a lot of people had to coordinate to make the diving inspection work. They scheduled it when Avista’s upper falls power house is down for routine summer maintenance; otherwise it would be unsafe for divers to be in the water. Additionally, the police, fire and city staff were aware of the inspection.