EVERETT — Less than a month of operation and the Grand Avenue Park Bridge elevator already had its first sick days.
Someone knocked the lift out of service for a couple of days when the door was damaged between the evening of Sept. 18 and morning of Sept. 19.
The $20 million span, which holds utility lines across the rail tracks and West Marine View Drive and serves as a pedestrian connection from Grand Avenue to the waterfront, opened Aug. 26. Ramps and stairs allow people to get up and down the west tower, or they can take the elevator, which is the accessible option for people with mobility concerns and is supposed to be available all day and through the night.
The elevator door was knocked out of its track and the area was vandalized. That prompted safety systems to shutter the lift until it was inspected and repaired the following Monday morning.
“We did not know it was vandalism until the elevator technician told us the door could not have come out of the guides like it did unless someone hit it,” Everett spokesperson Kathleen Baxter said in an email.
City staff were working with the Everett Police Department on the incident and to prevent future damage. Everett doesn’t have security cameras on the bridge.
Regular maintenance, including service calls during weekday business hours, is covered by a warranty with the contractor that installed the elevator until Aug. 26, 2021. But it excludes service needs during evenings and weekends, or for vandalism, so this will come out of the city’s facilities budget which is already facing steep tabs for needed or upcoming work, including $2 million to update the elevator controls for the Everett Municipal Building.
“Elevators with a high level of activity like this do tend to break down frequently, and response time can take many hours even during regular business hours (and this was over a weekend),” Baxter said. “There are many safety systems in the elevator that, if an error is detected, disable the elevator.”
The tower is coated to make removing graffiti easier, and the heavy duty aluminum guardrail’s orbital finish lets someone grind away damage with an orbital sander.
The city didn’t have a bill for the repairs yet, but Baxter said city staff estimated it would cost between $1,200 and $1,500.
When the elevator is out of service, there’s no way for people with mobility problems to use the tower, but a notice and warning light turn on at the Grand Avenue Park Bridge entrance when it’s closed.