Howarth Park bridge and beach reopen

EVERETT — The Howarth Park bridge and beach reopened this week after more than a year of closure.

The 27-year-old bridge, which provides the only legal access to the beach, was closed in May 2015 after a routine inspection found rust and corrosion on the supporting steel beams.

Designing a repair plan and getting the permits took longer than expected because BNSF Railway, which owns the right-of-way beneath the bridge, had to approve any work done above the tracks.

Getting a final plan in place ended up delaying the start of work to the end of July, when it was originally supposed to have been completed.

The work crews had to replace the corroded beams and install a new walking surface, city parks Director Lori Cummings said. New fencing also was installed on both sides of the bridge and overhead.

On Wednesday, railroad inspectors signed off on the completed construction work and allowed the bridge to reopen.

The project was budgeted for $330,000.

“We don’t have the final dollars, but it will be close to what our estimate was,” Cummings said.

The closure coincided with work done on the beach by Snohomish County work crews as part of its Nearshore Beach Restoration Project.

That project involved restoring county beaches, including the one in Howarth Park, to make them more supportive to salmon and other fish.

The construction of the railroad along the shoreline in the 1800s interfered with the natural beach-forming process and resulted in degraded habitat.

That restoration work also is complete, Cummings said.

The bridge is the only access point to the beach in the park, and one of three in the city, including Jetty Island. The ferry to Jetty Island is scheduled to close for the year Monday.

The only other access point in the city is reached via the Everett Avenue overpass onto the Pigeon Creek Beach trail, on Port of Everett property.

There are usually a few sunny days in September, Cummings said. She hopes people will be able to enjoy the beach while the good weather lasts.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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