Walla Walla's Spokane Street bridge in need of upgrades - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla's Spokane Street bridge in need of upgrades

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WALLA WALLA, WA - The Spokane Street bridge in Walla Walla is the oldest one in the city, but is now posing new problems. 

First built in 1905, the bridge has been at the center of downtown Walla Walla for 113 years now. But just like anything, if it's not upgraded it becomes outdated.

After a woman backed her car off the bridge earlier in May, it's a reminder that fire crews can't drive their ladder vehicle onto the bridge. 

Thankfully the Transportation Department has been proactive and was already given a grant from the state to make renovations to the Spokane Street bridge. 

But it's not the only bridge in the area with a weight restriction. In fact, Captain John Knowles of the Walla Walla Fire Department has a list of all the ones they can't cross. Capt. Knowles said when they get calls their crews will have to plan alternate routes if the address crosses over any one of them. This is why they say these upgrades are a welcome change.

So what will they look like besides changing the weight limit?

"One of the things we'll improve with the bridge reconstruction is a traffic barrier so that cars won't be allowed - or at least protected in a greater degree - from falling into the channel like with what happened earlier this month," said Monte Puymon, a transportation engineer with the City.

The fire department said they are excited for the changes since it will make their job a lot easier and their routes a lot quicker.

The City is currently in its design phase for the bridge and they plan to start construction in 2019. 

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