New foot bridge expands mission of Lindvig project

POULSBO — Councilman Jim Henry once joked that the Lindvig Bridge needed a troll living underneath it to be a true entrance to Little Norway.

POULSBO — Councilman Jim Henry once joked that the Lindvig Bridge needed a troll living underneath it to be a true entrance to Little Norway.

Well, it just might get one. After all, it did just get a foot bridge worthy of the three Billy Goats Gruff.

This week, crews from Stan Palmer Construction put together a wooden pedestrian bridge on the north side of the Lindvig bridge. The walkway should be ready for public use within the next week.

The addition was something project managers had long hoped would be there but were only recently able to realize. The original designs for the Lindvig Bridge project, which replaced a culvert at the headwaters of Liberty Bay with a salmon-friendly bridge, included a pedestrian bridge, explained City Engineer John Stephenson. But when engineering estimates came in too high, the item was placed on a “nice to have” list and not on the final drawings.

“Our ultimate plan is to have a pedestrian walkway all around the bay but right now there are some pieces missing,” Stephenson said. “This was probably the single most important missing link to connect the east and west sides of the bay.”

Work on the auto bridge began in May 2003 and was completed in September 2003. The $1.7 million total price tag was paid through a $1.4 million Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) grant and a $300,000 culvert replacement grant from the State Department of Transportation, since the ultimate goal was to restore the salmon stream bed and estuary.

Once the bridge was completed, Stephenson said he was pleasantly surprised to find that $140,000 of the SRFB money had not yet been spent. That left more than enough to pay for the $60,000 pedestrian walkway. The bridge price tag includes materials and assembly.

Stephenson said the bridge was an excellent use of SRFB money, since it ties in with the aim of the larger auto span.

“We’re going to have some additional opportunities the bridge will provide like bringing people down to the edge of the water,” Stephenson explained. “I think there will be some educational opportunities for people to learn about salmon and their life cycles.”

Stephenson credits contractor Stan Palmer Construction, as well as Poulsbo’s project managers Mike Lund and Andrzej Kasiniak and Paul Dorn of the Suquamish Tribe for helping keep the project costs low.

“It was kind of a team effort, everybody just came together,” Stephenson said.

Mayor Donna Jean Bruce also gets some of the credit for the pedestrian bridge, as she was the one who reminded staff of the item when they realized there was extra money available.

“That made it easy for us because we knew we had her support then, too,” Stephenson said with a chuckle.

The $80,000 of the SRFB grant remaining will be used by Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey and the Fish Park Steering Committee. McCluskey said the money will not be used for one large project like the bridge but rather for a number of smaller improvements like landscaping, work on the parking lot and possibly artwork.

“Site improvements to make the entrance of the park nicer,” McCluskey explained.

As with the pedestrian bridge, any planned use of the left-over funds would need to be approved by the SRFB.

“As long as there’s a connection … to the reasons for doing the big bridge in the first place, I think the SRFB will look favorably on it,” Stephenson commented.